Category Archives: sweets

Oatmeal Truffles {Vegan Friendly}

I used to be terrified of failure. Then it hit me that failure is the only way to learn, and that at least I tried and can say I gave it my all. I still struggle with it sometimes, but this acceptance of failure has led me to do some pretty ridiculous things that sometimes work out, and sometimes don’t. Like, starting my own handmade soap company because why not (worked out), and building a super classy potato box last year just to see if they were any good (sort of worked out, but decided against one for 2014 since we’re trying a new method).

One of the places I’ve learned to accept and love failure is in the kitchen. Love might be a strong word, but I love that it forces me to just go for it, experiment, try something new, and learn from it when it dies in a blaze of glory and curses. It’s a growing opportunity. Sometimes things succeed exceptionally well which of course makes me feel like I could win “Worst Cooks Ever” on the Food Network, and sometimes—just sometimes—the happy accident happens. Which is, of course, my very favorite thing to happen in the kitchen because it means you end up with something better than you intended. That’s a straight up win in my book.

Oatmeal Truffles (1)This weekend I had a happy accident which started with the following train of thought, all in about 2 minutes.

“I can make granola. I bet I can make granola bars.”

“Ohh, what if I made chewy granola bars?”

“How on earth do you make chewy granola bars?”

“Where’s my phone?”

“Oh, that’s how you make them? Wait, this ones different. So is this one.”

“I’ll wing it. What’s the worst that can happen? I’ll bake whatever happens into granola clusters or something.”

That, my friends, is how delicious Oatmeal Truffles were born. You are welcome.

The granola bars were on par to be pretty delicious, but I must have added too much agave or not enough coconut oil or something. They were just a little too sticky and drooped in bar form. I started squeezing the bar to see if it was just a compression thing. As I did that, I ended up with a ball. At that point I genuinely did not care that I didn’t have granola bars anymore.

Oatmeal Truffles (2)This is where, in happy accident land, a light bulb went off. I ran into the pantry and grabbed my raw cocoa powder and shredded coconut while I completely and blissfully forgot about any granola bars that might have been in another space and time.

Oatmeal Truffles (5)You get where this is going, right?

Oatmeal Truffles (6) Oatmeal Truffles (7) Oatmeal Truffles (8) Oatmeal Truffles (9)I even put my fancy pants on and did a single line of chocolate around while leaving the ends plain. Then I ate it immediately after taking a picture.

Oatmeal Truffles (10)I’ve got to tell you guys something. These are delicious and surprisingly filling. They taste like no-bake cookies but without the butter/dairy. I ended up deciding the best combination was a mix of chocolate and coconut together, which you can see below. One other happy accident I found, but isn’t pictured here, is that if after you coat the balls in chocolate you can keep rolling them in your hands and the chocolate absorbs into the peanut butter oils and makes a nice non-powdery coating.

Oatmeal Truffles (1)At the end of the day, I’m pretty excited I didn’t end up with granola bars. These are so darn good. I’m going to wing giving you guys a recipe just like I winged these. Pretty much once your mixture can easily hold together in ball form you’re good to go. Remember one tip though, it’s kind of a compressing into a ball motion versus a quick roll to make it all stick. These are vegan-friendly and even raw-vegan-friendly if you use raw nut butter! I think what I like most about these is that they are not overly sweet. I’m not huge on sugary sweet desserts and these fit the bill. It’s also pretty easy to be satisfied with one or two, since they’re very dense and filling.

I know these won’t save the world, but happy, not hangry, people make good decisions and express kindness to others. That’s got to count for something, right?

Oatmeal Truffles
A delicious happy accident that tastes somewhat like a no-bake cookie, and is vegan-friendly and raw-vegan friendly (if you use raw nut butter).
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Mixture
  1. 3 cups thick cut oats
  2. 1/4 cup agave nectar
  3. 1 cup peanut butter
  4. 1/4 cup coconut oil (I'm not sure this is definitely needed, experiment!)
  5. 1/8 - 1/4 cup dried blueberries
  6. Few tablespoons chia seeds
  7. Few tablespoons shredded coconut (I use dried shredded, not moist)
Exterior
  1. Shredded Coconut
  2. Raw Cocoa Powder
  3. Baking Chocolate
  4. Whatever else dried product you want to roll them in
Instructions
  1. If using coconut oil, melt before adding. It helps to add in the peanut butter to the coconut oil to melt everything down before mixing to coat the oats evenly. Add all "mixture" ingredients in a bowl and combine. Set mixture in the fridge to cool for an hour. Test to see if the mixture can hold ball shape by grabbing a small handful and compressing into a ball and then rolling around in your palms. They should hold up pretty solid. If they don't hold add more peanut butter (or play around to see what works best for you).
  2. Once they hold, roll into balls and roll in your mixtures to coat. Place in a single layer and put back in the fridge to fully set up.
  3. Now, eat!
Notes
  1. You want these to be cold when you're working with them. The heat of your hands will begin to melt the peanut butter/coconut oil. If they get too warm just put the mixture back in the fridge to chill again before continuing.
Like A Cup Of Tea http://www.likeacupoftea.com/
xo,

Heather

Let The 2014 Garden Begin

Hey, friends! I hope you all had a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend and aren’t too hung over/tired/burnt this morning! We stayed home this Memorial Day weekend but have started and done so much. Renovations are back in the swing, and so of course is the garden. Speaking of the garden, I realized I’ve barely written about it this year!

This past growing season confirmed to me that I really wanted to get serious about growing some of my own seeds. In the past I’ve tried winter sowing, but I had decided it wasn’t for me. After lots of research on different methods I decided I wanted to go with soil blocking. It’s literally what it sounds like, creating blocks of soil and starting seeds in those blocks. There’s a lot of great soil blocking material online so I won’t write a ton about the method, but good places to start are to search “Eliot Coleman soil blocking” and to check out Johnny Seeds, which is where I got my soil blocker. Personally I don’t do mini soil blockers, I stuck with 2″ and then moved up to pots for the items (like tomatoes) that needed to be potted up eventually.

DSC_0380-01First was deciding what we wanted to start from seed, what seeds we wanted to direct sow once it got warm enough, and what started seeds we still wanted to buy from our local green house. I knew hands down we were going to start tomato seeds. I really felt I could grow stronger plants by transplant time, but I also wanted more control over the varieties I grew. Beyond tomatoes I wasn’t positive what I would do. In the end I went with tomatoes, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, celery, celeriac and tomatillo’s. I’ve yet to see how the cabbage, cauliflower and tomatillo’s do and if they’ll be big enough to transplant anytime soon (pictured above). They also got a bit leggy since I forgot to turn my grow light on for two days. Oops. The celery, celeriac, and tomatoes all have done very well. The broccoli I’m not sure what to think of. It looks okay, but it suffered a little after potting it up. I’m not sure if it will do well once it get into the garden so I’m just crossing my fingers.

DSC_0341-01 DSC_0342-01Outside of soil blocking, we have a lot going on in the garden already. So far we have peas, cylindra beets, red ace beets, peas, garlic, onions, and as of yesterday, eighteen of the twenty-eight tomato plants!

DSC_0347-01 DSC_0350-01 DSC_0353-01 DSC_0355-01 DSC_0356-01We also expanded our asparagus patch with the asparagus I bought at the Fedco Tree Sale. Our patch was about 1 ft. by 2 ft. and it’s now about 4×4 which is a pretty good size. To plant  I first air dried the crowns for about twenty-four hours to get any storage mold dried, built the trenches, laid in the crows and covered with soil. We already have a few sprigs showing up from this year, but we won’t pick them. The second and third year asparagus has been delicious, while we’ve let the one year old asparagus go to seed.

DSC_9684 DSC_9697-01 DSC_9714-01 DSC_9731-01DSC_9694-01DSC_0345-01In the other areas of the yard I decided to transplant the strawberries to go in with the blueberries. I figured the acidic soil would be better, it would keep all of our fruit in one area, and it would allow me to build a 2×40 bed behind one of our stone walls to move our squash into as part of a crop rotation plan. At first I was worried the strawberries weren’t going to make it. Turns out though, weeks later, they are thriving in their new home. I really think the change in soil was perfect for them.

DSC_9701-01 DSC_9705-01DSC_0361-01Beyond strawberries the deer got at our blueberry and raspberries this winter since it was so harsh. I really wasn’t sure our new raspberry vine made it but sure enough, it did! Along with the raspberries, the blueberries and rhubarb are also in bloom. I’ve cropped the rhubarb pretty heavily already, but it’s still going.

DSC_0357-01 DSC_0363-01 DSC_0367-01 DSC_0370-01 DSC_0372-01We also expanded our orchard to include two peach trees and two more apple trees. Andy had the great idea of keeping one of the apple trees by the stone wall where the blueberries, raspberries and strawberries are. While all of them are doing good, the one by the stone wall seems to be doing best. There must be something about the soil around that wall, because everything seems to thrive over there.

DSC_0373-01If it seems like a lot has been going on around here, you’d be right! Thankfully I have my new handy broad fork to thank for a lot of the work in the garden. We originally tilled the entire lot, but as I’ve needed beds I’ve been aerating with the broad fork. Unlike tilling it helps keep the nutrients deep in the soil and also doesn’t expose weed seeds—a big issue we’ve been battling for a while now. This no-engine, no mechanics, simple piece of steel equipment is absolutely my favorite gardening tool I own.

DSC_9689-01In the end, that’s what’s been going on so far! Since spring is a bit behind I decided to wait until next weekend to buy the rest of the seedlings and direct sow most of the plants. I might put in the celery and broccoli this week, but I’ll be playing it by mother-natures ear. It’s a ton to do, but so far, so good.

One last thing, I’ve already been canning! This is our first year with rhubarb growing on our property and I realized it was a use it or lose it moment. Sunday I scoured my Ball Company canning recipe book and found one for Victorian Barbecue Sauce using rhubarb. Over all it’s a really unique sauce and pretty darn tasty. I ended up with four small jars and enough left over to use on the pork tenderloin we had last night for dinner.

10401791_310803725740660_785031501_nBesides all of this, the first week of graduate school is done! Only seven more weeks of this class to go and then an eight-week break until the next session! Thank goodness too, because that will be prime gardening time!

xo,
Heather

 

Dairy-Free Buckwheat Pancakes

Sunday mornings tend to include a special breakfast around our place. Sometimes it’s waffles, sometimes it’s some sort of fancy egg sandwich, and sometimes it’s pancakes. Yesterday morning though Andy asked for buckwheat pancakes and that sounded pretty good to me.

DSC_8362While I am about to give you a recipe, let’s state the obvious—this isn’t a new recipe by any means. Google, “pancake recipes” and about 11 million results turn up. I googled, it’s actually 11,100,000 at the time of writing this. I’m simply going to make this 11,100,001.

DSC_8347In my search for delicious buckwheat pancakes, I came across this awesome recipe from The Kitchn via Megan at Not Martha. I really wanted something dairy-free though. I don’t eat a ton of dairy normally, and lately I have been. My skin has been paying for it and I’ve been more congested than normal so back to dairy free it is. I really don’t miss the dairy in things like pancakes. I’d rather save the dairy for something like goat cheese on a burger, which I ate last night. Now that is worth the dairy.

DSC_8365Bon appétit!

Dairy-Free Buckwheat Pancakes
A delicious dairy-free buckwheat pancake recipe.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 1/4 cup buckwheat flour
  2. 1 1/4 cup sprouted wheat flour (or regular wheat flour)
  3. 2 tsp baking powder
  4. 2 tablespoons sugar
  5. 1 tsp salt
  6. Splash lightly flavored oil like vegetable or grapeseed (no more than 1/8 cup)
  7. 1 cup rice milk or other preferred nut/seed milk
  8. 2 eggs
  9. 1-2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  10. 2–3 cups frozen blueberries
Instructions
  1. Combined 1 cup of each buckwheat and sprouted wheat flour in a bowl with the baking powder, sugar and salt.
  2. In another bowl add oil, milk, eggs, and vanilla. Whisk lightly until combined.
  3. Add liquids to dry gently, until combined. Do not over stir.
  4. Add in blueberries. I use frozen blueberries and have no issue with them cooking through. I do not thaw my blueberries ahead of time as is sometimes recommended.
  5. On low heat add about 1/2 cup of batter to a hot cast iron skillet. Once the edges are slightly cooked and the batter is consistently bubbling, turn. Cook on the other side for another minute or so, until cooked through.
  6. Add whatever you'd like to the top - I love real maple syrup or applesauce - and enjoy!
Adapted from The Kitchn - Blueberry Buckwheat Pancakes, Megan of Not Martha
Like A Cup Of Tea http://www.likeacupoftea.com/
 

xo,

Heather

Wheat-Free Dog Treats

Yeah, I’m now making my dogs their treats. I went there.

I went there for a few reasons. One, treats are expensive. Two, treats that are grain/wheat-free are stupid expensive. Three, there’s a lot of crap in treats that have been recalled lately and no thanks. Four, I mean really, is anyone surprised that I started making my dogs treats? I didn’t think so.

When my little brother gave me the recipe he used for his dog I was in, with some modifications to make them wheat/grain free. Winnie became spay incontinent around a year or so old. The only option we could find was to put her proin and that was my last option. It was taken off the market for humans, so I wasn’t too keen on giving it to my pooch. After some holistic research I came across a woman who said she started feeding grain-free food on a whim from a tip and it stopped the incontinence.

Sure enough, Winnie stopped losing her bladder when she was sleeping within a week of changing her food over. Years later we’ve realized that if she has some grains she’s fine (oatmeal doesn’t bother her), but if she is consistently fed food with wheat grains then forget it. We will be cleaning up sleepy-dog-pee. I’m not a vet. I’m not even close to a vet. I only know what works for us, so I made these treats grain free.

Winnie however, likes to make her own winter specialty wheat-free treats. Snow, mud, and grass. Delicious.

DSC_1346-01Wheat-Free Dog Treats (modified from Dog Treat Kitchen)

Like most of my recipes, measurements are approximate. Also, if your dog has an actual wheat allergy or serious sensitivity you may want to use rolled oats that are certified wheat free or just skip them out for some other grain-free alternative.

Ingredients:

  • 1C Rolled Oats
  • 1/2 to 1C Flax Flour
  • 2C Garbanzo Flour (I throw dried garbanzos in the vitamix and whip up while plugging my ears. It’s loud, but it’s a heck of a lot cheaper)
  • 1/3C Peanut Butter
  • 3/4 to 1 1/4C Hot Water

DSC_7686-01Ignore the cookie cutters. This doesn’t come to cookie cutter consistency. At least mine didn’t and I didn’t care. Let’s face it, they are dog treats. I don’t even use cookie cutters on human cookies normally. I originally bought these for crackers which is about the only thing I use cutters for. The A-Z cutters are because I was going to try a kid-cracker-goldfishesque-recipe and what the heck, teach them letters while feeding snacks. Seems like a double whammy to me. Let’s be real though, I’m going to be the one eating them and I might cut them specifically so I can spell certain things and make myself laugh. I don’t know how I keep it classy so much.

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 350*.
  2. Get a cookie tray and line it with parchment paper. It helps with release (and you don’t have to wash your pan after, hooolllaaaa).
  3. Mix your dry ingredients.
  4. Mix your wet ingredients. Start with only a 1/2 cup of water. You’ll add more as you go. It’s easier than remedying a super wet recipe to dryer again. Not that I would know anything about these sorts of things.
  5. Mix wet into dry ingredients. Combine. Add more water if needed until they sufficiently hold together but aren’t really sticky.
  6. If you can roll yours out, awesome. I grabbed what would be a small scoop, rolled it between my palms into a round ball and then slightly smooshed between the heels of my hands to slightly flatten them. I had to wash my hands a couple times (with just water) to get the residue dough off my palms. I just kept going until I was done.
  7. Put in your oven until the cookies feel completely dried. You don’t want any moisture in these or they will mold easily. I think mine were in for 45 minutes. Not kidding.
  8. Let the cookies completely cool before you put these in a container. You don’t want any moisture whatsoever or it will make them soft and mold in just under a week. I made the mistake. I caught it in time and put them back in, re-dried them and left them on the counter for an entire day to really make sure they stayed dry.

DSC_7691-01 DSC_7696-01The dogs love these and frankly, act the exact same as the store-bought treats. Also, these seriously took almost no time to throw together, maybe 20 minutes?

Hope you enjoy them! If not? Well, just don’t make them again. Or alter it yourself too. My feelings won’t be hurt. All love, all the time.

xo,

Heather

Limeade, Lemonade, First-Aid

Raise your hand if you tripped in the hall at work on literally nothing and stumbled and then soon after turned to walk into your office and turned to soon body checked the wall.

*Raises Hand*

Thankfully the only hurt thing was my pride, which can be easily fixed because I don’t have much to begin with. Well no, not true. I have confidence, but I don’t have much dignity left to lose. I’m humbled. I have, afterall, walked face first into a closed door before. Lime-aid however is something I will always take that can heal many an embarrassing wound as you laugh with a friend over the perpetual lack of awareness of your body in space.

DSC_6710-01I hope you all love this end of summer recipe as much as I do. Andy picked up 6 bags of limes for free so let’s just say things are a little limey around here lately. There are plenty of limeade recipes out there but we go for the super traditional, though I can’t say I don’t love a lavender infused limeade. To make something like that, I would infuse the lavender in the simple syrup below, and then throw a sprig right into the jar at the end.

Homemade Limeade
A delicious homemade limeade with tips on how to use a vitamix to make the juice, and ratios for tarter versus sweeter limeade.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup white sugar (or equivalent in other non-sugar sweetener)
  2. 1 cup water
  3. 2-3 cups fresh lime juice
  4. 4-12 cups cold water
  5. Nut milk bag (if juicing with vitamix)
  6. Half gallon mason jar or other container
Simple Syrup
  1. Combine 1 cup sugar (or equivalent of non-sugar sweetener) and 1 cup water in a pan
  2. Heat until sugar is completely dissolved
  3. Stir continually to ensure sugar doesn't burn on the bottom of the pan
To Juice Limes
  1. Let's be honest, it's not rocket science to juice limes. Here are a few tips: If juicing by hand or with a juicer roll the limes on the counter/cutting board before you cut in half, it will help release the juices.You'll need 2 cups of fresh lime juice or about a dozen limes.
To Juice Limes in a Vitamix
  1. Peel the limes so no skin remains
  2. Throw in the vitamix, start slow and put on high for just a few seconds
  3. Pour the blended juice into the nut milk bag, over your container. It is recommended to do this in batches
  4. Slowly press the juice out of the bag
  5. Pour pulp into compost, pour next batch, and repeat until you reach two cups of juice
To make limeade concentrate
  1. Combine simple syrup and lime juice
To make limeade
  1. Combine 1-3 cups of water per 1 cup of concentrate, dependent on how sweet you like your limeade
  2. 1:1 will be very sweet
  3. 1:2 will be moderate
  4. 1:3 will be more tart
Like A Cup Of Tea http://www.likeacupoftea.com/
While we might like limeade it has a lot of sugar in it. My other idea is to juice the limes by themselves and then freeze it in cubes. Take a few cubes and thaw them out mid-winter for a perfect summery pick me up whether you’re making limeade, throwing it in a sauce or stir-fry, or putting it in a delicious french-yogurt cake (one of the simplest cakes ever despite the name). Then again, you could just make a ton of popsicles by freezing the juice with some honey and berries…mmm. Sounds so good. Someone make them and then report back to me.

Enjoy!

xo,

Heather

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