Wednesday, May 29, 2019

NEW MOIST & VERY CHOCOLATE-Y LOW-FAT OAT BROWNIES (CAN BE GF)

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I love brownies!  You will find quite a few brownie recipes on this blog, but, because I was diagnosed with pre-diabetes last year,  I've been working on a version that is not only very chocolate-y, moist and low in fat, but made with low-glycemic ingredients. (See this post and this one.)

I did devise a very good low-glycemic brownie last September, which included the addition of yellow split pea puree and unsweetened applesauce.  (See about the low-glycemic advantages of split peas and other pulses here.)

In this new recipe I still use my favorite low-glycemic flour combination of oat flour and chickpea flour, but, in addition to split peas and unsweetened 
applesauce, this new recipe utilizes prune puree , which provides sweetness (thereby cutting down on the amount of sugar needed) AND a whole lot of other goodness. (It seems that prunes contain lots of fiber, which is slow to digest, leaving you satisfied for a longer time. Prunes also have a low glycemic index count, which means that they raise the glucose [sugar] levels in your blood slowly.  See this article for more about the benefits of adding prunes to your diet.

Printable Recipe
BRYANNA'S NEW MOIST AND VERY CHOCOLATE-Y LOW-FAT OAT & CHICKPEA FLOUR BROWNIES
(It also happens to be gluten-free if you use GF oatmeal.)
Makes 18 brownies
This is the latest (and maybe the last!) recipe in my quest for a really delicious dark chocolate, vegan, low-fat, low-glycemic brownie.  It's easy to make and, dare I say it, even healthful, despite being a delicious dessert item.
       Oat flour and chickpea flour are both low-glycemic flours. Applesauce, prune puree and yellow split pea puree add plenty of fiber and nutrients, as well as moisture. 


NOTE: I make oat flour by grinding oatmeal flakes in my Vitamix-- just make sure the container is absolutely dry!

DRY MIX:
3/4 cup oat flour
1/2 cup +1 Tbsp dark cocoa powder
6 Tbsp. chickpea flour (also called besan) (or other bean flour)
3/4 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. 
baking powder
WET MIX:
1 cup unsweetened smooth applesauce

1/2 cup Prune Puree (see end of blog for homemade recipe) OR babyfood pureed prunes in a jar
6 Tbsp. yellow split pea puree (see how to and store make below)

6 Tbsp. maple syrup or agave nectar
1 1/2 Tbsp. oil
2 tsp. vanilla extract
ADDITIONAL: 
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

INSTRUCTIONS:
Turn the oven to 350 degrees F.  Prepare a 7 x 11" baking pan by lining with baking parchment.

Or, as I do, grease the bottom and sides of the inside of the pan lightly with my Homemade Palm-Oil-free, Non-Hydrogenated “Cake Release” (Pan Coating or Professional Baker's Grease) with GF Option


Whisk the Dry Mix ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.  

In a larger bowl, whisk together the Wet Mix ingredients until smooth. Add the Dry Mix into the bowl  and stir until smooth. Add the chopped walnuts and stir just to distribute evenly.

Scoop the batter into the prepared pan (using a silicone spatula to get as much as possible) and then spread it evenly into the pan with the spatula.

Bake for 18 minutes and cool thoroughly on a rack before cutting into 18 pieces.

HOW TO MAKE PRUNE PUREE:
Note: 2 cups of large pitted prunes, pressed down a bit, with make about 2 3/4 cups of prune puree.

In an appropriately-sized bowl, cover your prunes with hot water. (Make sure that they are completely covered with water.)  Let the prunes sit until they are more or less lukewarm.  Then pour the prunes and water into your blender and blend until VERY smooth.  You can safely keep this in your refrigerator in a tightly-closed container for 2 or 3 days, or you might prefer to store it in 1/2-cup containers in the freezer.


HOW TO MAKE YELLOW SPLIT PEA PUREE (Makes 5 cups):

Mix 2 cups of dried split yellow peas with 4 cups of water in an Instant Pot and cook at high pressure for 10 minutes. (PS: You could use any other type of pressure cooker, OR you can simmer, covered, for 30 minutes in a medium saucepan on your stovetop.) The resulting soft mush just needed a few stirs to "puree", or, if it looks a bit lumpy, you can cool it off a bit and puree it in your blender.

I refrigerate the puree in a covered container for a day or so-- it will firm up considerably.  You can press then the puree into silicone cupcake liners or large silicone ice cube trays in 1/4 cup portions, or into normal ice cube trays in 2 Tbsp. portions and freeze them.  Then pop out the frozen portions, bag them up and place them back in the freezer for future use.
(See more about yellow split pea puree at this link.)




Enjoy!




Friday, May 10, 2019

NEWLY REVISED, EASIER, CHEAPER CRUELTY-FREE, PALM OIL-FREE VEGAN BUTTER-Y SPREAD

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New version of Butter-y Spread made with liquid oil and a small amount of cocoa butter or a bit more of coconut oil for a more solid texture and no separating.  This works well with either soy or non-soy versions.

In this post, have steamlined my easy, inexpensive Vegan Butter-y Spread and added a version using cruelty-free coconut oil instead of cocoa butter for those who cannot access affordable, organic, fair trade cocoa butter (especially here in Canada). It also includes a non-soy version.

I was going to post it in a revised version of the last post I did on this recipe, but I decided to keep this post relatively short and steer you to the older post if you want more info on cruelty-free coconut oil (and why that's important) and on cocoa butter.
So here's the post with all that info:
What do I mean by "cruelty-free"?


A word about affordability:

Use organic, fair trade cocoa butter, if you can.  If you live in the USA, this is a reliable vendor with decent prices-- Chocolate Alchemy.

Affordable prices are harder to find in Canada, so you might want to try using an organic natural, UN-deodorized cocoa butter, which is cheaper, from a health food store [wafers or chunks].  It's such a small amount that it may not make a difference.

Use Cruelty-Free coconut oil. In Canada, Nutiva seems to be a good buy.  "Nutiva Organic Virgin Coconut Oil is unrefined, cold pressed, GMO-free, and made from fresh coconuts. All of their coconut oil products are human-picked, but look for the Fair Trade logo when purchasing."

"If you shop at Trader Joe’s [in the USA], you might be glad to know that their coconut oil is human-picked and certified organic. In their Trader Joe’s Organic Virgin Coconut Oil,  the main ingredient featured is fresh coconuts that are cold-pressed."
(Both quotes from:
http://www.vildamagazine.com/2016/03/coconut-oil-cruelty-free/ )

So, without further ado:


Printable Recipe

BRYANNA'S NEW, EASY PALM OIL-FREE VEGAN BUTTER-Y SPREAD Revised May 10, 2019

(Soy & Non-Soy versions; made with liquid oil and a small amount of either cocoa butter or coconut oil)
© Bryanna Clark Grogan 2019.   All rights reserved.
Yield: 1 1/2 cups

This is an inexpensive, delicious and easy-to-make butter-y spread to use on bread, toast, muffins, etc., in sauces on and cooked vegetables.  It may not be firm enough to use in place of butter or solid margarine in some baking-- though it often works if used in a frozen state. Frozen, both are firm and can be scraped with a knife to use on toast, etc..

NON-SOY VARIATION:
Instead of soymilk, use Silk or So Delicious Coconut Creamer (Original), which are both cruelty-free, or you can use a creamy sort of plant-based milk that has a pleasant taste. (Rice milk is too thin). 
NOTE: Silk and So Delicious brands use cruelty-free coconut products.


**NOTE: May 10, 2019  This is an amalgamated, revised and updated version of my two previous posts on making this easy and delicious homemade vegan Butter-y Spread.

#1.) Ingredient List for Cocoa Butter Version:
1/2 cup soy milk (I used Silk Organic Original-- have not tried it with homemade soy milk yet)  (see recipe intro for non-soy version)
1/2 Tbs liquid soy or sunflower lecithin
/2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
3/4 tsp guar gum or xanthan gum
3/4 cup neutral tasting oil
1 1/2 oz.(44g) steam-deodorized organic cocoa butter, melted to make 1/4 cup (See note on cocoa butter above photo)

#2) Ingredient List for the Coconut Oil Version:
1/2 cup soy milk (I used Silk Organic Original-- have not tried it with homemade soy milk yet)  (see recipe intro for non-soy version)
1/2 Tbs liquid soy or sunflower lecithin
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
3/4 tsp guar gum or xanthan gum
1/2 cup neutral tasting oil
1/2 cup cruelty-free refined coconut oil, melted (See approved cruelty-free brands here.)

Important Note: I melt the cocoa butter or coconut oil  in a small cream pitcher in the microwave for a minute at medium power. If you prefer, place the pitcher in a small saucepan with hot water and heat over medium heat until it melts. Either way, remove carefully using a potholder. You can add the neutral oil to this and use the little pitcher to pour the mixed oils into the blended mixture with more control and no spilling.

Instructions:
Pour the milk and the lecithin into a high-speed blender container, add the lemon juice, salt and xanthan or guar gum, and place the cover on it, with the central cap off.  Mix the liquid oil with the melted cocoa butter or coconut oil together in a small pitcher (like a cream pitcher)-- see Important Note at end of Ingredient List. Turn the blender on to Low speed and pour a thin stream of a mixture of the two oils slowly into the milk until all of it is used up.  (When I say “slowly”, that’s what I mean-- a slow steady stream, but NOT drop by drop.)

Increase the speed of the blender to High. Blend for a short time, just until it thickens to the consistency of a very thick mayonnaise.


Use a small silicone spatula to scoop the mixture into  one or two shallow glass refrigerator containers with lids, or a larger butter dish with a lid. Scrape as much of the blended mixture out of the blender container as you can. Smooth the top.  Cover and refrigerate for several hours before using. You can also freeze it, or freeze it until the mixture is firm and then refrigerate.

Makes 24 Tablespoons

Nutrition Facts, made with cocoa butter (Serving size: 1/24 of a recipe/0.5 ounces/1 tablespoon.)
Calories 84, Total Fat 9.45g, Saturated Fat 2.5g, Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 41.29mg, Sugar 0.13g, Protein 0.15g

Nutrition Facts, made with coconut oil  (Serving size: 1/24 of a recipe/0.5 ounces/1 tablespoon.)
Calories 86, Total Fat 9.3g, Saturated Fat 4.7g, cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 53g, Sugar o.2g Protein 0.2g

CLEANING YOUR BLENDER CONTAINER AFTER MAKING YOUR "BUTTER-Y SPREAD":

My friend Brenda Wiley said that she had a heck of a time cleaning the greasy blender container after making this.  She was using Dr. Bronner's Liquid Castile Soap, which I also use as an all-purpose cleaning product, but not for dishes.  She said she had to wash the container about 3 times.

I have not had this problem, and, no, I do not use Dawn!  I use Nature Clean Dishwashing Liquid (I like the Lavender & Tea Tree Oil one  -- there's an ingredient list at the link) and very hot tap water and have never had a problem.  (Nature Clean is a sulphate-free Canadian product and you can buy it online or in most supermarkets and drug stores in Canada.) Before I add the soapy water to the greasy container, I rinse out as much of the greasy residue as possible with hot tap water, using a bottle brush in the corners.  I dump that out and add more hot water and a generous squirt of the dishwashing liquid.  I scrub the inside with the bottle brush and rinse with more hot tap water.

I looked online for some US products that looked similar.  This looked like a good one, and the price seemed reasonable: Natural Home Logic Eco Friendly Liquid Dish Soap, Powerful & Pure Non-Toxic Cleaning | Plant & Mineral Derived.  It's available on amazon and their website gives you other locations.  If you have any other ideas, please leave them in the comment section-- thanks!

All the best,


Thursday, May 9, 2019

FINALLY ON THE MEND, WITH WHOLE GRAIN, LOW-FAT, LOW-GLYCEMIC LEMON, WALNUT, BLUEBERRY MUFFINS

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I'm happy to report that, over the last few days, my rotten cold is just about over, my nerve pain (from shingles) discomfort has eased quite a bit (after 4 months), and I have had much more energy in the last few days. I have managed to get some much-needed household and outside jobs done (in the morning, when my energy is highest)-- yay!

That said, I was moved to make some muffins a few days ago, and I made a batch of the same today, as well.  I had stumbled upon a recipe I had written a few years ago that sounded  just perfect for what I had available in my pantry and refrigerator.  But, I tweaked it a bit to make it lower on the glycemic index. I was a bit worried that using low-glycemic whole grains in place of the original white pastry flour, but I needn't have done so. I used only 1/2 cup of wholewheat flour, and replaced the rest with my favorite low-glycemic flour mixture of 3/4 oat flour and 1/4 chickpea flour.  It worked perfectly!

In my original recipe, I made a note stating: "Batter will be kind of runny-- it will be fine." I was a bit nervous about this, but decided to proceed anyway. Again, I needn't have worried-- the muffins turned out just fine-- in fact, nice and moist, but not soggy at all.  I hope you'll give them a try!


Printable Recipe

BRYANNA'S NEW, MOIST LOW-FAT, LOW-GLYCEMIC LEMON, WALNUT, BLUEBERRY MUFFINS

Makes 12 muffins

WET MIX:
1 1/2 cups creamy plant-based milk (I use soy)
1/2 cup sugar of choice
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 T. oil
grated zest of 1 lemon

DRY MIX:
3/4 cup oat flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup chickpea flour (or white bean flour)
1/4 cup wheat germ
1/4 cup oat bran
2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp. baking soda
Additional:
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (do not thaw them out!)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (or nuts of your choice)
Optional for topping: brown sugar or coconut sugar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and grease 12 muffin cups (or use cupcake liners or my Homemade Palm-Oil-Free, Non-Hydrogenated “Cake Release” (Pan Coating or Professional Baker's Grease).

Blend the Wet Mix ingredients together in a blender or with a stick blender, or a food processor. Set aside Mix the Dry Mix ingredients in a medium bowl.  Add the blueberries and walnuts and stir to coat with the Dry Mix.

Stir in the blended Wet mix and stir well, making sure that there is no Dry Mix still at the bottom of the bowl. As noted in the intro above, the batter will be runny-- see pics below.













Spoon the batter evenly into the prepared muffin cups. Sprinkle with a bit of brown sugar or coconut sugar, if you like.


Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Place the muffin pan onto a cooling rack and cover loosely with a light cloth. Cool at least 10 minutes before serving.













Enjoy!