Thursday, February 14, 2019


Best Blog Tips

Truffles in the snow

I always make some chocolate truffles for Brian on Valentine's Day, but I was a bit worried because we are, for all intents and purposes, snowed in, and I had no semisweet chocolate chipsleft in the house, which is what I usually use to make them. Our long, uphill, windey driveway is knee-deep in snow.  Our landlord's son tried to clear it with his machine and managed to clear the bottom area up to the first big curve, but his blade was too wide for the next part. So, no driving to the general store. Brian managed to trudge up the slippery hill to the mailboxes on foot and get our mail and precious bags of Books by Mail from the wonderful Vancouver Island Regional Library (which I worked for for 37 years), but we'll just have to make do with our (well-stocked) pantry, fridge and freezer for a few days.

Fortunately, I did have 6 ounces of UNsweetened baking chocolate in my pantry, and I thought this might actually be a good thing, since I eat a low-glycemic diet and use very little sugar.  So, I forged ahead and made a version of my usual truffle recipe with what I had available and what would suit my diet.  (To find an organic and fair trade unsweetened baking chocolate in your area, see this list. You're sure to find at least one brand from this long list in a local natural food store or supermarket.)

I normally use some nut butter in my truffles, but I only had peanut butter in the house. But I didn't want the peanut taste in this particular batch, so I used the same amount of medium-firm tofu, well blended, instead. Instead of a liqueur, I used a little bit of Brian's Glenlivet Scotch, and, for more flavor, some of our friend Harold's delicious homemade orange marmalade. I used a small amount of maple syrup as the sweetener, and decided to roll the truffle balls in ground walnuts.  They are delicious, and I hope you will try them and enjoy them as much as we did.

Printable Recipe

Makes 17 truffles

6 ounces/170 g unsweetened baking chocolate (see link to list of fair trade, organic brands in text above, highlighted in yellow)1/4 cup good-quality orange marmalade
1/4 cup real maple syrup
1/4 cup drained medium firm tofu OR extra-firm silken tofu
2 Tbsp. creamy non-dairy milk
2 Tbsp. good quality Scotch whiskey
ground walnuts (or other nuts of choice) for coating

Cut up the chocolate with a sharp knife into small pieces.  Melt the chocolate in a double boiler over simmering water, OR (my favorite method) in a Pyrex pitcher or deep bowl in the microwave on High for 2 minutes, then stir and cook 2 minutes more. When the chocolate is fully melted, stir in the marmalade.

In a blender or with a hand-held immersion blender, blend the maple syrup, tofu, non-dairy milk and Scotch until smooth. Stir into the chocolate mixture until full mixed. Refrigerate for several hours, or until the mixture is firm.

Have ready the ground walnuts in a shallow bowl. (I ground them in a food processor in short bursts-- you don't want it too finely-ground.) Scoop out  spoonfuls of the chocolate mix and roll into about 1" balls.  Roll in the ground nuts to lightly coat. Place the balls on a plate with a little space between them.  Refrigerate for at least another hour.

NOTE: I used to do my nutritional facts on Living Cookbook, but they just disappeared, with all my recipes on it (fortunately I keep copies in my  files online and off).  I have not found a satisfactory substitute yet, so I'm using for the time being.

Happy Valentine's Day! ❤️❤️❤️

Tuesday, February 5, 2019


Best Blog Tips

My husband requested French toast for Sunday breakfast last weekend (I was out of ideas and asked him what would be a nice change from our usual tofu scramble).  Thinking on it, I decided to go with French Toast and make a simple, very low-sugar blueberry sauce to top it off, since I have a big bag of the berries in the freezer.

Now, lately I've been making French toast with Follow Your Heart/Earth Island VeganEgg, and, before that was available, I used TheVegg, which is no longer available in Canada.  The VeganEgg is good, but expensive in my area, so I decided to go back to my old tried-and-true French toast batter made with simple, inexpensive products that I always have in my house, and I'm pretty sure that most vegans have available.

Well, we enjoyed this just as well as the recipes using the more expensive options, so I think I'll stick with this easy and inexpensive recipe.

Printable Version

Serves 2-3  

6 slices slightly stale bread of choice (I use sprouted wheat or multi-grain bread, such as Silver Hills brand.)
1 cup non-dairy milk, such as soy, nut or oat milk
6 T. more vegan milk plus 2 T. lemon juice (OR 1/2 cup orange juice)
1 T. whole golden flax seeds
2 tsp. powdered egg replacer (Ener-G Egg Replacer or Orgran No Egg™ Egg Replacer are easy to find.)
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract or paste
1/4 tsp. salt OR kala namak (aka black salt) for a more eggy flavor and aroma
A few gratings of nutmeg
OPTIONAL: 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. grated orange or lemon zest
3 cups frozen blueberries, thawed
1 1/2 T. vegan sugar
2 tsp. cornstarch dissolved in 1 T. water
2-4 tsp. grated orange or lemon zest

Blend together the batter ingredients in a blender until smooth. Soak the bread slices in this mixture in a 9 x 13” shallow baking pan. Turn the slices over a few times to make sure they are evenly soaked.

Preheat the oven to 500°F. Place the soaked slices on a nonstick or lightly-oiled DARK cookie sheet (dark pans brown better). Spray the tops with a little bit of oil from a pump sprayer, too. Bake 10 minutes in the bottom third of the oven (use convection, if you have it), then turn and bake about 5 minutes more, or until golden brown and a bit crispy on the underside.

Using an Electric Skillet:
This is my new favorite method, as it is an energy saver.  I have a rectangular electric skillet that I found in a second-hand shop-- similar to this one:  

It works wonderfully for pancakes and French Toast, and many other dishes, though I bought it originally to simmer batches seitan cutlets, etc.. Set the temperature of your skillet to High or 400°F.  Spray the pan with oil and carefully add all 6 of the soaked pieces of bread to the skillet, if it's a large one-- otherwise you will have to cook them in two batches.  When the undersides are nicely browned, turn the bread slices over and cook until that side is also browned.  Serve immediately with the Blueberry sauce (below) or your favorite toppings, such as maple syrup.

Using a Skillet on the Stovetop: This is basically the same as the Electric Skillet Method above, except that you will need a couple of stovetop skillets (well-seasoned cast iron, if possible, or whatever is your favorite), and you will have to adjust the heat as you go, so that the toast doesn't get browned too fast, without cooking the interior properly.

WHILE THE FRENCH TOAST IS BAKING OR PAN-FRYING, make the simple Blueberry Sauce. Mix all of the sauce ingredients in a saucepan and stir over medium-high heat until thickened and bubbly; OR microwave in a medium, deep microwave-safe bowl (deep in order to avoid splashes) for about 2 minutes, or until thickened and bubbly. Serve hot over the French Toast.

NOTE: I used to do my nutritional facts on Living Cookbook, but they just disappeared, with all my recipes on it (fortunately I keep copies in my  files online and off).  I have not found a satisfactory substitute yet, so I'm using for the time being.

Nutrition Facts
Servings: 3
Amount per serving 
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 6.8g9%
Saturated Fat 0.8g4%
Cholesterol 0mg0%
Sodium 564mg25%
Total Carbohydrate 69.3g25%
Dietary Fiber 13.2g47%
Total Sugars 27g 
Protein 14.4g 
Vitamin D 0mcg0%
Calcium 56mg4%
Iron 3mg18%
Potassium 448mg10%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet.2,000 calorie a day is used for general nutrition advice.
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