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Thursday, August 27, 2015

Gluten free Vegan Banana Cake



This banana cake came out so perfect, so memorable, I just have to post this recipe.  And of course, like all wonderful things that happen by chance, I didn't get a good picture of it.  In fact the only pictures I got of it were taken by my daughter.  But I think she did pretty well considering she's only 11 years old.  

Back to this cake, it has the perfect crumb, perfect amount of sweetness, and everyone, non-vegans included, loved this cake.  Here's the recipe:

Gluten Free Dairy Free Banana Cake

3 large bananas mashed (about 1 ½ cups)
The juice of one lemon
2 eggs (or like I’ve used many times-flax eggs, see the post "faux eggs")
½ cup + 2 Tbs. of oil (I use grapeseed)
¼ cup almond milk
½ cup sugar 
½ tsp. Baking soda
1½ tsp. Baking powder
½ tsp. salt
2 cups gf flour blend (mine has rice flour, tapioca flour, potato starch, and zanthan gum in that order)
½ cup chopped walnuts
Banana chips and extra walnuts for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease two 8 inch round pans for a two layer cake, or grease a 9x13 pan for a rectangle cake.  Add to a large mixing bowl or stand mixer the mashed banana, lemon juice, vinegar, eggs, oil, sugar, and almond milk.  Mix on medium speed till well incorporated.  Then add flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  (You can pre-sift the flour with the baking powder/soda/salt together, but I don’t bother sifting GF flours.) Mix on medium speed till blended well, but don’t overbeat.  Fold in chopped walnuts. Bake till toothpick inserted comes out clean.  (I forgot to time it)

Cream Cheeze Frosting :
One tub of Tofutti cream cheese
½ cup Earth balance margarine
½ tsp. Vanilla
coconut milk coffee creamer
One 32 oz. Bag of powdered sugar

Let the Tofutti cream cheese and margarine sit out and get close to room temperature or until softened.  With beaters, combine the two on medium speed till well combined.  Add vanilla and combine.  Slowly add powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time and beat till well combined.  In between intervals of powdered sugar, add 1 to 2 tsp. of coconut milk creamer.  You will use 1-2 Tablespoons of coconut milk creamer depending on the stiffness of the frosting that day.  Making a buttercream is all about technique, and not about exact measurements.  You will not use the entire 32 oz. bag of powdered sugar, more like just over a pound.  But it's better to be safe than sorry.  You can also make your own powdered sugar by blending your favorite sugar in a high speed blender.   When the buttercream holds stiff peaks, you're done!  Frost your cake as desired.  Garnish with banana chips and walnuts if you'd like!  

Enjoy!





Monday, March 16, 2015

A neglected blog and a beautiful salad.

Another year has gone by and I'm finally writing something for this neglected blog.  We still have so many allergies, and I'm just absorbed into our fast-paced life with 4 kids.  Our youngest can't handle gluten and dairy.  Something we discovered after he started school this year.  He also developped asthma, which we are controlling with diet and medication.  We're all trying to eat more vegan, and cut out all wheat.  I've been doing this a lot longer than the others, so it's no problem for me.  As far as the whiny 5 year old, well it's a transition.  Let's just say whether he likes it or not, his health is getting better and the inhalers are needed less.  After only being on the diet a few weeks, I have yet to see him gain weight, but it will come.  As a concerned parent, most would agree that watching your child get sicker and sicker is not an easy thing to do.  The instinct to fix it or to help your child kicks in.  And since I have gone through this before with child #1, I know where to start with child #4.  So here we are on a gluten free, dairy free, mostly vegan diet...again.  But I won't let this get to me in a negative way, we'll just work around it.  We all agree that our family feels better when we eat mostly plants, so let's just stick to it already!

Speaking of plant based foods, this salad was incredible.  And speaking of being gluten free, this salad is not.  Sound confusing?  I think so too.  A friend who's a nutritionist and herbalogist (That's what she calls herself, google wants to correct me and call it herbalist.)  recommended kamut for us.  She said it was a low gluten, easy alternative to wheat, and that she thought we could handle it.  I was really skeptical on how we would handle it, but she was right!  I didn't have any problem at all digesting this!  But of course, I did soak the grain for at least 4 hours, and I simmered it in more than enough water which I drained after cooking.  This grain took a while to cook.  It was somewhere between 1 1/2 hours to 2 hours to cook.  I don't know if what I bought was older grain and maybe that would affect the cooking time, or if that is just normal for kamut.  Either way, it was worth it.  This salad was lick the plate delicious.  Of course, if you'd like to substitute brown rice to make it gluten free, be my guest!



Kamut and Kale salad with Mandarins

1 cup whole Kamut kernels
4 cups chopped, de-stemmed kale packed
1/2 cup medium diced red pepper
1/2 cup medium diced red onion
3 mandarins (like Cuties) peeled and segmented
1/4 sliced almonds

For the dressing:
2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp. fresh orange juice (or mandarin juice)
3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. honey or agave or maple syrup
Salt & Pepper to taste

Add all vegetables and mandarins to a bowl.  Whisk together dressing ingredients and toss with the salad till well combined.  This is great for workday lunches, a quick light dinner, a snack for midnight munchies, or whatever your heart desires.

Bon App├ętit!