Friday, February 14, 2014

Baked Rice and Beans

I don't know what is going on with me but lately I seem to enjoy just visiting everyone else's blog and ignoring my own. I've been cooking and checking out all my usual blogs and pinning like crazy but have no ambition to blog my own stuff.  But I didn't want too much time to pass without a post and this one is a really good one.  If you like rice and beans, this is for you. It's plenty big too for a potluck, etc.....You can veganize it with vegetable broth or you can use chicken broth.  This is definitely big enough for several nights' leftovers too!  I just love that you put all the ingredients together, stick it in the oven and forget about it - not literally but long enough to get other stuff done while it's cooking!!  Also remember, you can play a bit with this recipe.  Spice it up with some hot sauce and cayenne pepper, add red or yellow peppers or whatever you like!
 Enjoy! Original recipe found at The Stockpot.

3 cups of brown rice
2 cans of beans  (any beans you like)
2 tsp salt (cut this down if you are using chicken broth)
1/2 cup green pepper, diced
1 medium onion, diced
1 8 oz can tomato sauce (no salt added) or 1/2 can tomato paste - I used paste
1 - 2 tsp chili powder
1/2 to 1 tsp cumin
pepper to taste
4 cups chicken stock or vegetable broth - I used vegetable broth

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Grease an 11 x 13 in pan.
Add all ingredients together in pan and stir until well combined.  Cover completely and tightly with aluminum foil. Bake for 1 - 1 1/2 hours
or until all liquid is absorbed in the bottom of pan. Fluff rice with a fork and serve.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Cocoa Fudge Cookies

I came across these cookies on Pinterest.  I have come across so many good recipes there. I just have to be careful when I start pinning because it is highly addictive!   These cookies are so very easy and very moist.   They are dairy free so if anyone has a dairy allergy feel free to enjoy these!  They are ever so slightly crisp on the edges and chewy on the inside.  Word of caution:  Don't eat these on a cold, wintry day when you plan on staying home.  They will be gone in no time.  Remember that dairy free does not mean fat free!!!!

1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
5 Tablespoons vegan butter (I'm sure you can substitute margarine if you don't have vegan butter)
7 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup plain non dairy yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a medium size bowl mix together flour, baking soda and salt.
Melt the butter (margarine) in a large saucepan over medium heat.
Remove from heat and stir in cocoa, sugar and brown sugar - the mixture will look like coarse sand!
Stir in the yogurt and vanilla extract until combined.
Stir in the flour mixture and mix just until moist.

Roll one tablespoon of dough into ball.  Space about 2 inches apart on baking sheet.  Bake in  350 degree F  preheated oven for about 8 - 10 minutes.  Cook on baking sheet for about 2 minutes and then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

One Bowl Apple Cake

Welcome 2014 and welcome back to my baking mojo!   Did you all have a nice new year celebration?  My perfect celebration is just staying home and having good food and watching some good TV with the hubby.  I'm a huge Walking Dead fan so my TV has been on overtime!  I started watching yesterday morning and caught it when I could throughout the day and switched back and forth last night between commercials to Time Square. I didn't want to miss the ball drop!  My youngest son who is now 14 and has his first "girlfriend" went to a party at her dads house.  So I was up till about 1:30 when the dad brought him home. I am  not ready for all this dating thing all over again.  My older boys were not that big into the dating scene and at 14 my son is quite young for all this.  But I don't see any harm as long as they are supervised when they are together.  We'll see how it goes.  Yes, I keep telling myself this as I think in my head "please don't let his heart get broken so young." Ugh...raising kids is never easy and you never know if you are doing the right thing or not until later on.  Just have to go with my gut instinct.  My instinct is usually correct, if I listen to it and not ignore it.
Well, this is the first post of the new year and since baking is my passion, how appropriate for it to be an apple cake.  I had seen this a few weeks back on Facebook and it looked delicious and simple.  Well, the final product does not look like the cake posted on Facebook.  In fact, I was downright pissed off when I saw how dark this cake looked and it didn't taste any better than it first.  It was dark and hard.  Great...I thought to myself. Another failure. I was going to toss the whole thing in the trash but I thought I would let my husband try it first.  The next day I told  my husband I wasn't happy with this cake at all. He said he didn't understand why since he thought it was delicious.  I looked at him like he had  2 heads.  Really?  Yes, really....Okay, I just dug my fork right in the cake and tasted another bite.  Wow!!!  It was really good and nothing like the night before.  Overnight, it transformed into a delicious soft and moist cake!!!!  I don't know how, but it did. I would not post this if it were not delicious. Plus it's one bowl simple!!!!  Definitely add some whipped cream on top for some added goodness!!!

One Bowl Apple Cake

2 large eggs
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 heaping teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 cup oil
5 or 6 medium apples (I used Delicious)
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  In a large bowl mix eggs, sugar, cinnamon and oil.  Peel and slice apples and add to mixture and coat so as not to turn brown.  Mix together the baking soda and flour and add to the ingredients in the bowl.  Mix well - this really works good with a fork - until all of the flour is absorbed by the wet ingredients.  Pour mixture into a greased 9 x 13 inch baking pan or two 9 inch round pans.  I used the 9 x 13 inch pan.  If you use the 9 inch round pans just remember this does not come out easily (if at all).  You may have to just slice in the pan.  Bake for approximately 55 minutes.  Check regularly....mine was done a little earlier.  Top with fresh whipped cream, if desired.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year Everyone!!!!!

Just wanted to take a moment to check in and wish everyone a Happy and Healthy New Year!!!  I promise, yes promise that I will be posting more regularly this coming year.  I have my cooking mojo back...or more appropriately my baking mojo!!!!!  So that mean lots of cakes and cookies and also some healthy food too!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Banana Cake (my new favorite)

If  you've been following my blog for any length of time you know that I just adore banana breads and cakes.  This one is so good and I'm so happy to share it with all of  you.  My favorite banana cake for the last few years had been one that you immediately put in the freezer after you remove it from the oven, but this one tops it.  Also, if any of you have a dairy allergy, this one is dairy free so that is a plus!  This one is also just so simple to make and more than likely you'll have all these ingredients on hand.  I absolutely hate recipes that have all kinds of crazy ingredients that you'll likely end up using only one time. Another pet peeve of mine is a recipe that has a loooong list of ingredients. Nope. I just can't be bothered with that.  Sometimes simple is the best.

Don't know how many piano players are out there reading my blog but I am currently learning how to play piano!  I have always wanted to play piano and just feel that it's now or never. I have to say I absolutely love it!!!! I don't think I have ever found anything so relaxing to do in a long time.  It's a great stress reliever but that is just an extra benefit!  We have an old upright piano that has just been sitting around here for years and hasn't been played since my oldest son was living at home.  I'm sure the old piano missed being played!

In the meantime, hope you enjoy this banana cake!  Original recipe was found here.

2 cups of flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup of sugar (I used a little less)
1/4 cup oil (I used vegetable)
4 ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 cup water
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Lightly grease a 9 in square baking pan.
In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt.  In another bowl whisk together the sugar, oil and then add the bananas.  Add water and vanilla, stirring to combine.
Add the flour mixture and mix together just until wet.
Bake for 45 to 50
minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Pumpkin Bread

Fall is in the air here!  Along with lots of rain that will hopefully be finally leaving us by Sunday.  Just like we  had days on end last week of hot summer weather, it's been raining days on end here.  Enough is enough. How about some nice cool, crisp weather?  I know I'm ready.  And I am sooo ready that I made two loaves of this pumpkin bread recently.  One for right away and one went in the freezer.  It lasted only about 3 days in the freezer.  Just too good to wait and eat.  So we ate one loaf and had the other one right away.  This bread has no eggs or dairy whatever in it.  It has a ton of flavor and it's very moist.  It's a really good recipe, promise!  So go make one for now and freeze the other one for later......or maybe sooner!!!! (You can get the original recipe here).

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour (or you can use all white)
2 cups light brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons cinnamon
4 teaspoons ginger
1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree
1 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup orange juice
1 cup soy, almond or rice milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Preheat over to 350 degrees F.  Place a rack in the center of the oven.  Line two 9 x 5 in loaf pan with parchment paper and set aside.
Pour the soy milk into a small bowl and add the apple cider vinegar.  Stir it together a little and let it sit for a few minutes while you prep the other ingredients.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices.
In a very large bowl, stir together pumpkin puree, oil, orange juice and soy milk until nicely combined.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients about a cup at a time.  Stir well after adding each cup of the dry ingredients using a spatula to scrape the sides of the bowl and incorporate all of it together.
Bake for 1/2 hour at 350 degrees F then lower over to 325 degrees F and bake for another 30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean when inserted in center of bread.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Lemon Baked Tofu

This is a recipe that I can make over and over again.  I've made this twice since I took these pics and there is always plenty of leftovers for me.  Of course no one here wants to even try it. All I can say is they don't know what they are missing. Seriously, this is REALY good.  I read a review on this and the comment was that it tasted like chicken picatta...and it does!  So if you have never had tofu and are thinking about perhaps giving it a try I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

Just wanted you to also know that right here in the state of Virginia we are having summer all over again!  But without the humidity and the nights are in fact quite cool.  Ah, this would be perfect weather year round.

If any of you reading this are from the DC/Northern Virginia area, did any of you go to the DC VegFest?  I wanted to but of course other things got in the way. Like heart flutters and ending up in the ER!  All is well for right now however, and my doctor doesn't think it was anything serious.....but....i did miss the DC VegFest and had been looking so forward to it. Ugh!

You can find the original recipe for this dish here.

Lemon Baked Tofu

2 blocks firm or extra firm tofu, well pressed
2 Tbs soy sauce (I used low sodium)
2 Tbs lemon juice
2 Tbs olive oil
2 Tbs Dijon mustard
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp basil
1 tsp thyme
salt and pepper to taste

Slice your pressed tofu into 1/2 inch thick strips. I love to cut mine diagonally.  Just cut each strip into 2 squares and then cut each square diagonally from corner to corner.
Whisk all ingredients together except for tofu and place in shallow pan or zip-lock bag.  Add tofu, making sure to coat well.
Allow tofu to marinate at least one hour- the longer the better.  I marinated mine about 6 hours.
Heat oven to 375 degrees F and bake for about 25 minutes.
Transfer tofu and marinade to baking dish.
Make sure to turn tofu halfway through cooking time.  (Mine probably cooked for about 30 - 35 minutes.)

You can serve this with a salad, potatoes or rice.  It is really delicious over rice.