Jul 28

glazed sesame seed almonds

I’m going to ramble for a bit, so if you want to skip ahead to the tasty nuts section of this post, by all means go right ahead. I’ll understand.

Today I came across a photo that I took on Christmas in 2009 at an insanely beautiful working farm that my husband and I were lucky enough to spend a night at.

Water lilies. Every time I see a water lily, I remember once hearing that moose eat water lilies. Doesn’t that seem so odd? A big moose munching on a delicate little floating work of art?

Photo Source

I have a point. Stay with me.

My husband’s nickname is Moose.

I’ve only ever heard his parents and sister refer to him as Moose, so it’s not like a nickname that has followed him everywhere he goes, but I’d say it’s a nickname nonetheless.

I’ve never had a nickname. People call me Nikki or Nik. Nikki isn’t even short for Nicole, it’s my actual name.

When I was in the fifth grade our teacher made the class choose nicknames for each other using the first letter of our names and matching it with the first letter of a type of animal. Examples being Mary Monkey. Katie Kangaroo. Patty Panda.

5th grade me, rocking a sweet hairdo

You know what they came up with for me? Gnat. Because they couldn’t think of an ‘N’ animal. Gnat. Nikki freaking Gnat. (It didn’t stick, thank goodness.)

So, water lilies remind me of moose, and moose remind me of my husband’s nickname, and then I think about myself (because I am self-centered) and how I’m just Nikki or Nik.

My point is: I don’t have a nickname. Do you? And is it cuter than Nikki Gnat?

How about Nikki Nut? How’s that for a segue? Pretty bad, actually. I’m sorry.

The other day I was hunting for some sort of snackable nut recipe. One that was sweet with a little spicy kick thrown in. This recipe that I found in Canadian Living was exactly what I was looking for. The only change I made to the list of ingredients was adding an extra tablespoon of sesame seeds. Otherwise, it’s perfect just the way it is.

Glazed Sesame Seed Almonds
Recipe adapted from Canadian Living

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup vegan refined sugar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3 cups whole raw almonds
  • 3 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil and spray the foil with olive oil to keep the almonds from sticking.

Stir together the sugar and water in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil. Allow to boil for 5 minutes, then remove the sugar water from the heat.

Gather up your almonds

and stir them in with the sugar water. Allow the almonds to sit for five minutes, stirring often (one good stir per minute should do).

In a separate bowl, stir together the sesame seeds, sea salt, cayenne and ground ginger.

Use a slotted spoon to scoop the almonds out of the pot and stir them in with the spices. Discard the remaining sugar water.

Spread the almonds out on the pan and roast for 20 minutes, stirring once at the halfway point.

Allow the almonds to cool completely before eating them. They’ll be less sticky once they’re cool.

You can store the almonds for up to 2 weeks in airtight containers. I packed mine up and sent them off to work with Moose.

Jul 25

vanilla walnut milk

I made walnut milk on Saturday. Milk from walnuts. I know, I know. I wasn’t sure about it, either. But I just kept thinking, if almond milk works then why not walnut milk?

Walnuts are super good for you but I’ll be honest, I don’t ever get the urge to sit around and snack on a handful of them. That’s where this milk comes in handy. The plain version has only a slight hint of walnut flavor, making it perfect for oatmeal, cereal, green smoothies and baking. The vanilla version is delicious all on its own and I bet it would be super tasty in sweet smoothies, as a base for dairy-free ice creams, in coffee, etc. The possibilities are endless.

The best part? After soaking the walnuts, it took only 10 minutes to make. Easy peasy.

Vanilla Walnut Milk
Recipe inspired by Raw Epicurean
Makes 5 cups of milk
Printable recipe

Ingredients:

  • 5 cups water
  • 1 cup walnuts, soaked and drained
  • 1 tablespoons agave nectar*
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract*
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

*The agave and vanilla measurements are to taste. 1 tablespoon each worked out well for my taste buds, but be sure to do a couple taste tests as you go along to reach your desired flavor.

Start by soaking the walnuts for 6-8 hours, preferably overnight, and then draining and rinsing them.

Place the walnuts and 5 cups of water into a blender and blend on high for roughly 1 minute, until the walnut pieces are about as small as you think they’re going to get.

Slowly pour the milk over a cheesecloth and into a large bowl, catching the walnut bits in the cloth.

Discard the pulp, or save it and then head over to Café Janae to learn about some great uses for walnut pulp.

Pour the milk back into the blender and add in the agave, vanilla and salt. Blend on high for another minute and then taste the milk to see if you might want to add some more flavoring. If not, you’re all finished!

Note: Walnut milk is for humans only, not for kitties! Sorry, Sebastian and Court.

Jul 20

baked blueberry donuts

I ate these donuts for lunch this past Saturday. I gobbled them down in a hurry as I ran around the apartment, trying to simultaneously chew, run a comb through my hair, find my shoes (they were already on my feet) and a shirt long enough to cover the blueberry stains on my shorts. What, did you think I’d just put on a clean pair of shorts? No. There was no time for that. I had to get my butt out the door and into the movie theater so I could shove Twizzlers in my mouth and say goodbye to Harry Potter!
I laughed. I may have cried. I ate a whole lot of candy. Then I came home and ate more donuts. Oh and then my husband and I walked over to my old neighborhood and brought home a giant pizza from my favorite pizza place in Brooklyn. Then for dessert I ate another donut.
Be like me and eat these donuts. But maybe not as many at once and not on a day when you’re also eating candy and half of a giant pizza. Or you know what, be just like me, but also keep some antacids on hand. I’m not a kid anymore. My body does not love donut-candy-donut-pizza-donut days like it used to.
Baked Blueberry Donuts
Donut recipe adapted from Eat Good 4 Life
Glaze recipe adapted from Joy the Baker
Makes 12-18 donuts, depending on pan size
Donut Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup vegan granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 cup vanilla almond milk plus 2 tablespoons
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup blueberries
 Blueberry Glaze Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup frozen blueberries, thawed but not drained
  • 1 1/2 cup vegan confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla almond milk
To make the donuts, start by preheating your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and coating your donut pan with oil or cooking spray (I used grapeseed oil).

 

In a large bowl, stir together the sugar, applesauce, almond milk, grapeseed oil and vanilla.
Gradually add in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg and stir until fully combined.

 

Gently fold in the blueberries.

 

Spoon the batter into a donut pan, filling each hole about 3/4 of the way.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the tops of the donuts begin to brown.
Remove the donuts from the oven and allow them to cool before removing them from the pan.
Once the donuts are cool, it’s time to make the glaze.

 

Place the thawed blueberries in a large bowl and crush them with a spoon. Remove and discard the skins but keep the juice.

 

Add in the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, lemon juice and almond milk and stir until the ingredients combine to form a pretty purplish glaze.
Drizzle, pour or brush the glaze over the donuts (or fully submerge the donuts in the glaze, that sounds fun) and devour!

 

Jul 18

coconut oatmeal cookies

Happy Monday, kiddos! Who wants cookies?

I made these Coconut Oatmeal Cookies with Coconut Glaze for One Green Planet and I wish I had saved a few to get me through this hot and sticky summer day. If you make them, your kitchen will smell like a beach vacation.

Zanzibar, during our honeymoon adventure in 2009. The scent of these cookies reminds me of that view.

Much better than my view today.

Blah. Pass the cookies, please.

Jul 14

citrus tea punch

Last weekend I wanted to make punch. I didn’t have anything special to celebrate. No parties to attend. No guests coming over. But dang it, I wanted punch. Can’t a girl just make a giant bowl of punch for no good reason? Yes. Yes, she can. This girl did. And I drank it out of a mason jar while I cleaned cat food off of the kitchen floor. Classy.

I met my husband at the door when he came home from his weekly street hockey game and shoved a glass in his face. “Punch! Look! Drink it! PUNCH!” I think I scared him a little bit, but the important thing is, he liked the punch. You will, too. There’s fruit involved and you can put ice cream on top. Or you could pour the punch inside a container of ice cream, stir it up and eat it right out of the container! I’m kind of sad I didn’t think of that earlier…


Citrus Tea Punch
Recipe adapted from Taste of Home
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
4 green tea bags
2 cups water
3 medium oranges
2 lemons
2 cups orange juice
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
3 tablespoons agave nectar
1 liter ginger ale, chilled
1 pint vanilla dairy-free ice cream

Place the two cups of water in small pot and bring to a boil. Remove from heat, place the tea bags in the water and allow to steep for 3 minutes.

Peel and slice two oranges and one lemon. The size of the slices isn’t all that important, just make sure they’re large enough to easily remove from the punch later on.

Pour the tea, orange juice, lemon juice and agave nectar into a punch bowl, add in the fruit slices and stir.

Place in the refrigerator for 6 hours or longer, until you’re ready to serve it.

While the tea mixture is chilling, slice the remaining orange and lemon

and place in the freezer.

Side note: that ice tray is full of almond milk, not water.

Once chilled, remove the tea from the fridge and scoop out and discard the fruit slices.

Stir in the ginger ale

drop in the frozen orange and lemon slices and top the punch with scoops of ice cream.

Serve immediately.

Jul 11

butter pecan cupcakes

I’ve always felt that butter pecan ice cream is a very grown up flavor. My grandparents’ freezer was customarily stocked with chocolate or neopolitan ice cream when I was a little girl and I could count on it being there, waiting for me to dig in after a long day of making mud pies, playing with my imaginary friends (who were always animals, never people) and climbing trees. But sometimes I’d open the freezer door to find a box of butter pecan staring down at me. In my mind, combining butter and pecans seemed like such a mature move, one that a responsible person would make. Adults eat butter pecan ice cream. They look forward to it after a long day of doing adult things, like shucking beans. That’s what I thought made someone an adult when I was five years old. Shucking beans and wearing pants in the summer.

Last week I was remembering my childhood and those special days when my grandma would scoop some butter pecan ice cream into my bowl. I loved the sweet, nutty combination. It was delicious and eating it made me feel so grown up. Since I don’t have an ice cream maker, I decided to pack those same flavors into cupcakes with the help of a recipe I found from Taste of Home.

I told Mr. Court Kitty all about it and he was instantly ready to nap on top of tackle this recipe.

Butter Pecan Cupcakes
Recipe adapted from Taste of Home
Makes 12 cupcakes
Printable recipe

Cake Ingredients:

  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup Earth Balance Natural Buttery Spread, softened
  • 1 cup vegan refined sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup vanilla almond milk
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar

Frosting Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 5 ounces Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese
  • 1/3 cup Earth Balance Natural Buttery Spread, softened
  • 3 1/2 cups vegan confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla almond milk

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

To toast the pecans, spread them out on a baking pan lined with aluminum foil and bake for 5 minutes. Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together the Earth Balance and refined sugar on low-medium speed until combined. Mix in the applesauce, vanilla and almond milk.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, baking powder, sea salt and baking soda.

Combine the wet ingredients and the dry ingredients, mixing on medium speed until well combined.

Stir in vinegar by hand, then fold in 1 cup of the toasted pecans.

Spoon the batter into cupcake liners

and bake for 15-18 minutes, until a toothpick can be inserted and removed cleanly.

Allow the cupcakes to cool to room temperature.

To make the frosting, combine the Tofutti, Earth Balance, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla and almond milk into a large bowl and mix on low-medium speed until fully combined.

Frost the cupcakes and sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of toasted pecans on top.

The pecans inside the cupcake are soft and inviting.

They’re begging you to eat them. Go ahead. Give in. Do as the pecans say.

Jul 06

chocolate covered potato chips

We came across milk chocolate covered potato chips in Prince Edward Island and I knew I wanted to throw together a vegan version as soon as possible.

I’m not sure if you are going to love me or hate me for this one. These chips are sooooo good. But they’re highly addictive. Salty + sweet = can’t stop eating.

So, I’m sorry. And also, you’re welcome.

Chocolate Covered Potato Chips
Makes 4 servings
Printable recipe

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup vegan semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3 ounces potato chips with ridges, about 36 chips
  • Sea salt, to taste (optional)

If you decide to make your own potato chips to use for this recipe, be sure to cut them so that they’re ridged and thick. This keeps them from getting too soggy.

Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave and dip one side/half of each potato chip into the chocolate.

Place the chocolate-covered chips onto a sheet of wax paper with the chocolate side facing up

and sprinkle with a bit of sea salt.

The salting step is only for super salt lovers, like myself. Feel free to skip it.

Place the chips in the refrigerator for 10 minutes so the chocolate can set.


Remove from the fridge and enjoy!

Store the chips in an airtight container for 3-4 days. I think these would make super easy, inexpensive gifts. I certainly wouldn’t mind receiving some with a giant bow on top. Hint hint. I’m just kidding! No, seriously. My birthday is in December.