{Vegan MoFo} A recap of Vegan MoFo 2013

On the last day of Vegan MoFo, I leave you with a sample of the gluten-free recipes posted at Made of Stars during the month. In no particular order (click on the images to go to the recipes):

carobcup1

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rosemary1

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apricot1

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sunflowerintro1

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blueberry cake

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pesto1

***chocalmond1

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veganpre-schooler1

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maca1

***soupheading***

chocchai1

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shiitake1

Thank you for following my MoFo journey, and for leaving thoughtful comments.

Ally 🙂

{Recipe; Vegan MoFo} Almond Carob Tahini Bars

almondbars1

These gluten-free, no-bake bars are reminiscent of tahini-based halva. They consist of a base and frosting.

Ingredients

1 cup raw almonds

1/2 cup raw pecans

2 Tbsp unsweetened almond milk

2 Tbsp coconut sugar or brown sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup tahini (sesame paste)

for the frosting:

1 cup medjool dates, pitted (about 10 large)

1/4 cup + 3 Tbsp unsweetened almond milk

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 tsp pure maple syrup

3 tsp carob powder

Method

1. For the base: In a food processor, process the almonds and pecans for about 45 seconds. Add the tahini, coconut sugar, almond milk and vanilla. Process until well combined, stopping to scrape the mixture from the sides of the jug with a spatula if necessary. The mixture should stick together when you press a small amount between your fingers. It should not be grainy or crumbly.

2. Press the mixture into a loaf tin lined with baking paper or foil. Smooth and flatten the surface of the mixture with the back of a spoon or your fingers. Put the base into the freezer for 30 minutes.

3. For the frosting: In a food processor, process the dates for about 20 seconds. Add the almond milk, vanilla, maple syrup and carob powder, and process until smooth.

4. Spread the frosting evenly across the base. Refrigerate for an hour.

5. Slice into bars, and serve. Store the leftovers in the freezer or fridge.

almondbars2The Tiny Vegans’ Verdicts

The tiny vegans enjoy date and nut-based treats, so there was never any doubt that they would enjoy this one.

The frosting is a little bit sticky, so you could make the bars without frosting if giving them to toddlers or young children, or if packing them in lunchboxes.

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I’ll see you back here tomorrow for the last day of Vegan MoFo 2013. 🙂 Thanks for sharing the journey with me.

Ally

{Recipe; Vegan MoFo} Freaky Friday: Freckles

freckles1Today, on Freaky Friday, I bring you freckles.

Chocolate freckles.

Yes, I have more than a few freckles, but these chocolate ones are tastier, I assure you. 🙂

I made a couple of tiny changes to Cara’s sno-caps recipe at Forks and Beans. Cara is following a candy theme for Vegan MoFo. You will want to check it out – trust me!

freckles2These chocolates consist of raw cacao powder, pure maple syrup, icing sugar, coconut oil, and vanilla extract. They are topped with vegan and gluten-free 100s and 1000s (hundreds and thousands).

I used mini cupcake moulds (silicone and paper) to shape and set the chocolates. They are not uniform in shape. Some are thicker than others. The ones that I shaped in paper cupcake cases have a larger circumference. I made 23 uniquely-shaped chocolates.

The chocolates are very rich. You only want to eat a couple at a time. This is a good thing. 🙂

The recipe is available here.

freckles3

The Tiny Vegans’ Verdicts

Tiny Vegan, 6 years old, is not keen on bitter chocolate, so I did not think that he would like these.

I was right.

He took one bite, and asked for water!

Of course, my daughter and 4-year-old Tiny Vegan were enthusiastic about these treats. 4-year-old Tiny Vegan identified a great injustice – his sister’s chocolate was ‘fatter’ than his chocolate.

I hadn’t planned on giving one to Little Baker but he snatched one as I was photographing them – he is my photography assistant. 🙂

Clearly, he does not have an aversion to bitter chocolate.

Once the tiny vegans had sampled them, I hid them away for Mat and I. They just don’t know it yet. 😉

Wishing you all a glorious weekend in your part of this beautiful world.

Ally

{Recipe; Vegan MoFo} Roasted Cashew and Coriander Pesto

pesto1

We don’t seem to have much luck when it comes to growing coriander in our backyard. We are fortunate to have well-established parsley, oregano, rosemary, mint, and garlic chives plants. But coriander does not thrive in our little herb garden.

Fortunately for us, big, beautiful, fresh bunches of coriander are available for a pittance at our farmers’ market.

We use coriander in salads, stir fries, Thai curries, and pesto.

Today’s pesto recipe contains roasted cashews, raw pine nuts and coriander. The oil content ensures that it is spreadable and easily stirred through pasta shells or spirals. For a pesto recipe with a lower oil content, see this recipe.

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Cashew and Coriander Pesto

Quantity: makes 1 1/4 cups

Ingredients:

1 1/3 cups raw cashews

1/4 cup pine nuts

3 tightly packed cups coriander leaves (some stem is OK)

2 cloves garlic

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Method

1. Spread the cashews onto a baking tray and roast in a warm oven for about 10 minutes. Allow the cashews to cool before using them in the recipe.

2. Wash and dry the coriander leaves (I use a salad spinner), and put them in a food processor with the cashews, pine nuts and garlic cloves. Process for 30 seconds.

3. Scrape down the sides of the food processor using a spatula. Add the salt and olive oil. Process for 30 seconds.

4. Taste the pesto, and add more salt if desired. Process for a further 15 seconds (if required).

5. Serve with your preferred gluten-free pasta.

Scoop leftovers into a glass jar with a lid, and store in the fridge. Yummy on toast!

pesto2

The Tiny Vegans’ Verdicts

All of the tiny vegans enjoy this pesto stirred through pasta. As they find raw garlic spicy, I keep the garlic content low in this recipe.

Two cloves is low for us. 🙂

Thanks for sticking with me through Vegan MoFo. The ‘finish line’ is in site. Wishing you all a beautiful day. 🙂

Ally

{Vegan MoFo} A nut-free, gluten-free lunchbox for a vegan pre-schooler

veganpre-schooler1

My kids are on school holidays at the moment, which means a reprieve from packing lunchboxes.

However, that does not mean you will have a reprieve from hearing about lunchboxes. 🙂

Recently, I featured the lunchboxes of my school-aged kids.

Today, I show you the lunch of 4-year-old Tiny Vegan, who attends a pre-school with a ‘nut-free’ policy.

On Friday, his packed lunch consisted of the following:

lunchboxr1

A small bowl of pasta salad – gluten-free spirals, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, carrot, celery, red capsicum (bell pepper), freshly picked parsley leaves, and a smidgen of soy mayonnaise.

Strawberries; cucumber and carrot sticks; homemade hommus; chickpeas roasted in vegan worcestershire sauce; goji berries; coconut flakes; sunflower seeds and a bottle of water.

Each child also brings a separate container of cut-up fruit to share with the other children at morning tea. At this time of year, we usually pack orange segments, mandarin segments or strawberries.

lunchboxr2

Tiny Vegan’s Verdict

So, what returned home in the afternoon?

A few chickpeas, a few sunflower seeds, a couple of goji berries, a coconut flake or two, a smidgen of hommus, and a segment of the parsley sprig.

I think that’s a ‘thumbs up’. 🙂

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Check-out my other post on vegan lunchboxes here.

For more vegan pre-school lunchbox inspiration, visit my friend Sarah’s blog Play.Love.Vegan (click here). She is a mum of two tiny vegans, including a pre-schooler. Her lunchboxes are works of art.

Ally

{Recipe; Vegan MoFo} Nutty Cinnamon Bites

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Ingredients

1/4 cup pecans

1/2 cup walnuts

1/4 cup pumpkin seeds (pepitas)

3 tsp raw carob powder (or raw cacao powder)

1 Tbsp organic coconut sweet spread* OR 1 Tbsp smooth nut butter

1/2 cup pitted medjool dates (about 5 large)

3/4 tsp ground cinnamon

Method

1. Add walnuts to a food processor, and process for 10 seconds.

2. Add pecans, pumpkin seeds, carob powder, dates, coconut spread, and cinnamon. Process for about 60 seconds. Do not over-process, as the nuts will release their oils and the bites will be greasy to touch.

3.  Press the mixture into silicone molds and place in the freezer for a couple of hours before serving.

4. Alternatively, roll the mixture into balls and coat in shredded coconut, almond meal or ground sunflower seeds, then refrigerate for half an hour before serving.

I store leftover balls in the fridge, and leftover bites in the freezer.

I use my limited range of silicone molds – hearts and Easter egg shapes – for most of the mixture. I roll the remaining mixture into balls, and coat them in almond meal or ground sunflower seeds.

nuttycinnamon2

My school-age kids are permitted to bring nuts to school in their lunchboxes, but peanuts are prohibited. My son’s pre-school excludes all nuts and peanuts.

For packing in lunchboxes, I prefer to roll the mixture into balls, as they are more sturdy. However, I have packed the bites in lunchboxes (inside an insulated bag), and my daughter assures me that they stay intact until ‘little lunch’ (when she eats them).

coconut spread

* Organic coconut sweet spread. Ingredients: organic coconut, organic extra virgin coconut oil, organic coconut nectar.

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Ally

{Recipe; Vegan MoFo} Sesame, Shiitake and Greens stir fry

shiitake1

Regular readers will have noticed an abundance of vegan desserts on Made of Stars recently. Namely, cupcakes, a cake or two, and fudgy chocolate. These delectable treats were inspired by a desire to hone my gluten-free baking skills during Vegan MoFo

Except the chocolate.

There was no rational reason for posting that recipe….but who requires rationality when it comes to chocolate?! 🙂

On Saturday, I whipped up a quick stir fry for lunch using ingredients that are usually found in our pantry and fridge. No baking required. 🙂

Ingredients

(serves 2)

2 Tbsp chopped shallots (spring onions)

10 dried shiitake mushrooms

1/4 cup chopped carrot

1/3 cup broccoli florets

1/4 cup brown lentils, cooked or tinned

2 heaped cups green leafy vegetables (I used a combo of kale, silverbeet and baby spinach), roughly chopped or torn (keep the baby spinach intact)

3 Tbsp peanut satay sauce (store-bought or homemade) OR peanut butter

4 Tbsp coconut cream 

1 tsp vegan fish sauce OR gluten-free soy sauce

1/8 cup coriander leaves

1/2 Tbsp sesame seeds

Method

1. To a lidded container (ie. a saucepan), add the shiitake mushrooms and about 3 cups of boiling water. Cover, and set aside until the mushrooms are soft. Chop the mushrooms and retain 2 tablespoons of the soak water.

2. Heat 2 tablespoons of water in a wok, and add the shallots. Cook on a low heat for a couple of minutes. Add the carrot and broccoli. Cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Add the peanut satay sauce (or peanut butter) and coconut cream. Mix well to coat the vegetables.

4. Add the green leafy vegetables, and pour 2 tablespoons of mushroom soak water over the leaves. Then add vegan fish sauce, lentils, and mushrooms. Stir well.

5. Cook for a couple of minutes, until the leaves begin to wilt. The broccoli and carrots should still be crisp. Add the coriander just prior to serving, mix well.

6. Serve over rice noodles or rice. Top with a sprinkling of sesame seeds.

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The Tiniest Tiny Vegan’s Verdict

Only Little Baker was home with us on Saturday afternoon. He gobbled up his share of the stir-fry. Yes, even the green leafys! 🙂

Ally

{Vegan MoFo} Freaky Friday: A hearty soup, pumpkin coffee, and chocolate for breakfast

Today, on Freaky Friday, I highlight recipes from three bloggers who are participating in Vegan MoFo.

First cab off the rank…

Homestyle Split Pea Soup by Vegan Flavorista.

When cooler weather and strong winds descended this week, this simple and tasty soup brought much comfort.

The recipe consists of carrot, celery, onion, vegetable stock, garlic, and green split peas. My pantry was a little low on green split peas, so I made up the difference with yellow split peas and red lentils.

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The recipe requires 1 pound of green split peas (approx. 450g). I used 250g green, 170g yellow, and 30g red lentils. I also increased the garlic content from 1 clove to 3, and the liquid content from 6 cups to 7.

This soup cooks in a slow-cooker (crockpot), but could easily be adapted to stove-top cooking. My slow-cooker had not made an appearance during winter, so it was a novelty to bring it out of captivity. The delicious smells of soup wafted through the house.

The recipe directs readers to cook the soup on low for 4 – 4.5 hours. We cooked our soup on low for 5 hours, then turned the slow cooker onto the high-setting for 3 additional hours (a total of 8 hours cooking time).

Tiny Vegan, 6 years old, inspected his soup, and announced enthusiastically: ‘This looks like it tastes nice’. And it did! It was tasty and satisfying.

The recipe is available here.

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Pumpkin Spiced Cappuccino by Two Cups of Love.

pumpkincoffee

Pumpkin and coffee?! It sounds strange to me.

As someone who uses pumpkin in soups and curries, or roasts them with other vegetables, I was intrigued when I saw this recipe at Two Cups of Love. 

You could call this drink a pumpkin-spiced espresso smoothie.

To a high-speed blender, I added: organic soy milk; a shot of freshly brewed coffee; mashed, cooked pumpkin; ice cubes; a combination of spices: ginger, allspice, cardamon, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

I poured the drink into a tall glass, added a couple of ice cubes, and sprinkled some freshly grated nutmeg across the top.

Unexpectedly delicious! And refreshing. The combination of coffee and spices is delightful.

The recipe is available here.

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Chocolate Overnight Oats by Carrie On Vegan

overnightoats

Today, my daughter and I enjoyed chocolate overnight oats for breakfast.

A friend met me at my house early this morning, and we drove to a nearby beach side town for a morning of ocean kayaking.*

Last night, as I was preparing my gear for the kayaking trip, it occurred to me I would need a decent, filling breakfast that was simple and quick to prepare. A green smoothie was not an option, as I didn’t want to risk waking the rest of the family with a noisy, whizzing Blendtec.  I recalled Carrie’s chocolate overnight oats recipe, and it seemed like a perfect occasion to try overnight oats for the first time.

The recipe consists of: goji berries, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, chia seeds, cocoa, cinnamon, blueberries, soy milk and oats (I used ‘gluten-free’ oats).

I doubled the soy milk, added frozen organic raspberries, reduced the quantities of blueberries and goji berries, added rice protein powder, and used raw cacao powder (doubled) rather than cocoa.

The oats were satisfying, decadent and scrumptious. The perfect fuel for a morning of kayaking.

The recipe is available here.

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* Before our kayak adventure commenced, an instructor told the group there was a 90% chance of spotting dolphins. Approximately 400 dolphins live in the area. He also told us there was a really good chance we would see a humpback whale (or whales), as it is peak whale watching season.

Well, we didn’t see any dolphins. Not one. Not a fin.

We did see a whale from the shore during our ‘tea break’, but he or she decided to vacate the area when the crazy bunch of paddling humans entered the water again. Someone may have seen a green turtle’s bobbing head.

We saw a butterfly. Who knew they flew so far out from the shore?

The kayaking tour company offers a ‘wildlife-spotting guarantee’. So, my friend and I are able to book in on another occasion – at no cost. 🙂

{Recipe; Vegan MoFo} Blueberry Cake

blueberry cake

This gluten-free cake is loaded with fruit and flavour. It is delicious and moreish, and contains millet flour and sorghum flour.

I discovered this Laurie Sadowski recipe at Uberdish.

The original recipe uses 2 cups of blueberries. The first time I made this recipe, I used 1.5 cups of frozen organic blueberries. I didn’t allow the blueberries to defrost. After I added them (as the last step, thankfully!), the batter began to solidify! I had to work quickly to spread the batter evenly in the cake tin.  I am assuming this is unique to these particular gluten-free flours, as I have added frozen blueberries to spelt and wheat flours, and never had a problem with the batter solidifying.

So, I recommend using fresh blueberries, or allowing frozen ones to defrost adequately. 🙂 Despite this ‘error’, the cake turned out beautifully and I was keen to make it again.

blueberry2I made a couple of minor changes: I used coconut cream rather than coconut milk (as this is what I usually have in my pantry) and raw sugar (rather than an unrefined sugar, like coconut). Also, I used millet flour instead of quinoa flour (thanks for the tip Angela!). My cake took 55 minutes to cook.

I do not own a stand mixer, and using a basic hand mixer for this recipe was a little bit challenging, as the batter kept climbing up the beaters! It is not impossible though, and I did not want the absence of a stand mixer to prevent me from making this scrumptious cake.

**The recipe is available here.**

Strawberry Cake

On the next occasion, I replaced the blueberries with 1 cup of fresh, chopped strawberries. I scooped the batter into a loaf tin, and the cake was ready in 45 mins.

strawberrycake2

Strawberry cake

In winter, strawberries are grown in sub-tropical areas of Australia. I think of strawberries as a ‘winter fruit’ because they are abundant and cheap in my region in the colder months of the year. Summer-grown strawberries travel further to reach my part of the country, so they are generally more pricey (and less abundant).

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Strawberry cake

The Tiny Vegans’ Verdicts

The tiny vegans enjoyed the strawberry cake. The school-aged kids were fortunate to be treated to a couple of small slices in their lunchboxes.

What did they think of the blueberry cake?

Well…they didn’t know about it! [shh, don’t tell them]. I made it while they were at school and pre-school. Little Baker, who was at home, may have had a small slice – I can’t remember. Mat and I polished it off over a couple of days – all in the name of recipe research, of course. 😉

Which do you prefer – blueberries or strawberries?

Ally

{Recipe; Vegan MoFo} Chocolate and Chai: Celebrating my 100th post

This is my 100th post. 🙂

I had always assumed that I would do something monumental for my 100th post. But since it falls (almost) in the middle of Vegan MoFo, I will stick with a food theme. Besides, I am suffering from a touch of creativity fatigue. This (almost) daily posting caper is a little exhausting!

I considered posting a celebratory cake or cupcake recipe. However, I posted a cupcake recipe on Sunday, and I’ll be posting a strawberry cake tomorrow.

Ultimately, I decided to post a simple recipe.

My tagline is simply vegan after all. 🙂

I chose a recipe that does not require complicated or expensive ingredients, or multiple steps.

One that features my favourite flavour combination of the moment – chai spices – combined with my traditional favourite (chocolate, of course!).

A no-bake recipe that doubles as a decadent breakfast and a guilt-free dessert. A recipe that my children will enjoy.

A recipe that signals summer is on the way!

I settled on chocolate chai ‘ice-cream’.

chocchai1

Ingredients

( 2 serves, or 3 child-size serves)

3 cups frozen banana pieces

1 generous Tbsp raw cacao powder or cocoa powder

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg 

1/16 tsp ground cardamon

1/16 tsp of ground cloves

1 Tbsp walnut pieces

1/2 Tbsp cacao nibs or choc chips (optional)

Additional freshly grated nutmeg, for sprinkling on top (optional)

Method

1. Combine the spices and raw cacao powder in a small bowl, and mix well.

2. Place the bananas in the food processor jug, and process for 15 seconds. Stop the machine, and add the spice mixture. Process until smooth. The bananas will move through a process of looking grainy before becoming smooth and creamy in texture.

3. Serve immediately in bowls or glasses, and top with walnut pieces, cacao nibs (or choc chips) and freshly grated nutmeg.

From this......to this.

From this……………….to this.

A Tiny Vegan’s Verdict

Little Baker was the only tiny vegan who was around to share my celebratory ‘ice-cream’ treat. He devoured it in much the same way that he tackled chia pudding last week. He required a bath immediately afterwards.

I interpreted his cries of ‘more, more‘ as a nod of approval for this simple treat.

chocchai2

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 Ally

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