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Not that I’m ever adverse to a little bit of light cooking in the morning – in fact, I’m pretty sure it’s the chance to play with cinnamon and wooden spoons that really rolls me out of those cozy quilted covers, moreso enticing than even the smell of warm oatmeal and just slightly-stewed fruit tucked inside like a juicy wholesome present.  I’ve never exactly been able to shake the oat habit, but it has undergone a little bit of a makeover since my raw experiment this summer.

And you know what I found out?  Raw oats are equally fabulous as the cooked kind.  They’re a different creature to be sure, but if you like your oatmeal on the chewy side you are in gold territory here.  As an added bonus: absolutely no cooking (obviously!).  Also, they apparently have seven times the iron and potassium as cooked oats, and when you’re eating full raw, a big bowl of warming grain is nothing to shake a (leafy green?) stick at.

Raw Oatmeal 

(what I actually like to do is grind up a whole batch of various grains in large quantities and use them for the next few days so I’m not always making a construction-zone-level racket during my supposedly zen breakfast-making experience!  I like to go with 60% oat groats / 30% kamut groats / 10% other grains like brown rice or kasha.

A spice grinder is your best bet here, and you’ll probably want to get some completely pulverized, and some just barely cracked, for the best result)

  • 1/3 cup ground up oat mix
  • 1 cup water (or raw nut milk)

Mix these two together in a bowl and leave to sit overnight, covered.  

In the morning, rise yawning and with clean tummy ready for food!  Leisurely stir in (not too strenuous now)…

  • 1/2 banana, mashed
  • 2 tbsp ground flaxseed

Don’t skip these two!  They’re vital for that subtle “cooked” sweetness and texture.  Keep adding…

  • 1 piece of soft fruit, diced 
  • 1 tbsp each dried fruit & nuts 
  • pinch of cinnamon, nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • sea salt

And then stir it all together until it becomes smooth and porridgey, and adjust things to your liking.  To be totally honest I kinda like it as thin as milk, and really salty, and I like to throw in an extra sliced banana because banana is awesome, but this is breakfast and not building robots and it’s so entirely up to you that I feel almost silly suggesting any ratios on it.

Anyone else tried raw oats or would be willing to try it?  Let me know if you like it!  And when berries come into season… there’s the whole purple blueberry phenomenon to get excited about!  Hehe. ;)

Mmm… it’s one of those mornings I grab a sweater and a coffee and just start working on stuff, in this case blogging.  To me that’s so evocative of autumn, which has begun to be noticed in the air.  I’m supposed to be selling postcards at an outdoor craft show/sidewalk sale today and the sky is a dark dark grey, with a snappy chill and a risk of rain… So I’m enjoying the indoor lamplight while I can, and getting the most out of every second I can hang out in my plushy pajama pants.  (pajama pants being the best invention ever, probably).
It seems appropriate to blog about the last of the summer meals, in this case.  Cold refreshing food I might not be as interested in in just a few days… zarusoba being an iconic example.  Despite owning a package of soba noodles the size of my head, I only just recently made up the appropriate dipping sauce to go with it so I could eat it summer style, cold with nori shavings on top.  If it’s still warm where you are, I recommend it so much!  And I insist that you slurp it, sucking up air in a perfect satisfying hoover as you eat, because it really does improve the flavour about 50% – I think it has to do with almost smelling it as you eat.
Perfect technique, so demure, and yet loads of delicious delicious air in every bite!  Now I kinda want fat soft udon, yumm……

This is a vegetable curry Pomme and I made using a lot of inspiration from this book, a seafood curry to be exact.  So it was a mix of turmeric, basil, mint, cayenne, paprika, pepper and lemon, which I thought was really novel (and very delicious).  Eaten with wheat berries for carbohydrates (defrosted from the freezer because you can do that), and a cucumber salad I made with chunks of ruby red cactus pear.  The seeds of cactus pears are hard like little BBs, but the melon taste and beautiful colour is worth it, like a poor man’s watermelon maybe.
Of those occasional small-batch cookies I make sometimes after meal, these mint chocolate brownie bites were knee-meltingly good!!  I wish I’d written things down, but there’s ground almonds in there, plus vanilla, mint, pockets of chocolate chips, and the texture was like 2-bite brownies, amazing.  Biting into them was a world-stopping experience, which probably means I added enough cocoa powder to the mix. ;P
Sometimes hash, just straight up hash is perfect.  Smoky sausages, in season tomatoes, little baby basil leaves, and enough salt and pepper to tie it together = wish I had more sausages so I could make this for lunch right now!
Finally, I’d had a tomato tart on the brain all summer.  Every week went by and I wondered when I would do it, if I would remember, if all the ambrosial blushing tomatoes would disappear from the markets en masse before I got the chance to make that pie.  But I did remember!  Luck would have it that I came upon a huge package of gorgeous organic tomatoes for a steal, and I hopped on the chance to bake them oh-so briefly in hardly more than their own juices.

I used a cornmeal pizza crust recipe from here, replaced most of the cornmeal with masa harina, spread the bottom with grainy mustard, thyme leaves, and drizzled it with olive oil before baking.  
And while I folded up the edges to make it more like a tart, I quickly found out that hand-to-mouth was the ideal method of eating this – it was a pizza at heart, and a robust and juicy one, too.  I still can’t think of any way I’d rather eat tomatoes right now!

Oh right!  That wasn’t the last thing, this is ^  Celine’s peanut butter granola!  oooooooooooh!
I replaced the PB with a Peanut-hazelnut blend, used hazelnut oil instead of canola, and left out the chocolate and it’s absolutely fantastic.  I hardly need to rave about how it melts away on the tongue and is just kissed with sweet and is full of toasty flax and is easy to make… because most of you have made this I’m sure, or at least if you haven’t you should and you can have a batch of oven-fresh granola in less time than it takes to run out and buy some.  
Kind of makes me wish I had some milk or yogurt around ever, but a jar of this in the fridge will disappear from nibbling fingers soon enough anyway, I assure you. ;)
Next post: an adventure in ninja-vegan waffle cones!

So I’ve been busy!  I have photos going back so far I don’t even remember the niceties of what went into the food!  Could be better this way, though… do a nice skim over with some sexy photoage and then I get to go RUN OUTSIDE AND PLAY!!!!  Because it’s so nice out.  It’s been hard to want to do anything else, besides run around the city on luscious errands (“Ummmm… I need a light bulb.  Let’s go on a 3-hour sun-drenched walk!”).  The markets nearby have been getting more fragrant by the day.  Mangoes are getting delicious again.  I’m listening to some pastoral Vashti Bunyan I picked up at a thrift store today and I’m having a hard time remembering the kind of cold that prompts lentil loaf, such as the one pictured above, but hey, it was needed at the time, and it WAS nostalgically yummy.  I’m not sure about the whole vegan Loaf Craze, I think it might be my second one ever, but this one turned out remarkably well.  It was even gluten-free, adapted from this recipe with some amaranth and rosemary added and some other changes I really don’t remember right now.  And it’s an excuse to eat ketchup, as if I wouldn’t eat it off a spoon, anyway. :)

I usually feel funny posting about salads, since it’s like, well, vegetables.  With oil and salt and things.  But this one was like a bomb of happy went off in my mouth, so here it is.  I think there was berries, daikon, carrot, goji, ume vinegar and mirin involved, maybe some tamari.  Good stuff!!  I think this is when I began to taste spring, a little bit.

And if I wasn’t careful, Satchmo was gonna taste my peanut butter banana oat muffins!!  These are soooo perfect if you don’t want anything even remotely evil in a baked good, and I really didn’t at the time.  It’s just every ingredient listed in the title, plus some baking powder, cinnamon, and raisins for sweetness and that’s it.  I mean, admittedly I added some salt and allspice, but that’s still earnest.  And they made perfect desserts for anything, since I made them mini I could celebrate putting my clothes in the dryer with a muffin if I wanted.  Oh yeah!  And gluten free, too!  Like the loaf, completely subconscious on my part, but neat.  Oh, and recipe is from aTxVegan!

Later I made some split pea soup because it’s probably my favourite, this time heavy on red peppers and with quinoa in it as well, which made it a lot lighter and smoother, and better for warmer times.  With my first sundried tomato pesto on rusks beside it.

And I ought to open Vegan Fire & Spice WAY more often, because it’s just crammed full of launching-pads for creative dinners.  I was way too lazy to cook up brown rice one night, so I riffed off the Persian Orange Rice with Pistachios, using couscous and walnuts instead.  Really good!!!  Totally orangey and warmly spiced and great with zataar-spiced vegetables to mix into it (especially zucchinis!)


CHOCOLATE !!

The best dark chocolate I’ve ever had?  Possibly… quite possibly.  My sister got it almost cheap because it broke into two pieces, thus affected the taste irrevocably and rendering it only fit for ruffians such as us to consume.  Ahhhhh broken chocolate… also calorie-free I hear!  And isn’t that aztec-y wheel printed on the back gorgeous?  The coffee beans in it are roasted near to a meltaway powder, and there’s tons of them, and you should go to the Chocomotive site and order some of this and maybe send some to me, or just definitely pick some up if you ever see it broken in a store near you.

Yay!  I am predictable like this, in that it’s a wrap sandwich, but check it out, this one’s special.  I had the stroke of genius to mix in a whole buttload of fine-chopped scallion into my usual roti and it worked.  SO.  Well.  The tofu mix wasn’t half-bad besides, and maybe I’ve just been craving dijon really madly lately, but this was really good.  If you haven’t tried green beans in a sandwich before, you’re missing out, too!  Lightly steamed, rinsed cold, loaded along with zukes, sweet pickled onions, more dijon and grated carrot = win!  I even remember what I did with this one …
French-ish Tofu Salad 
makes enough for 2 generous sammiches
1/2 lb. firm tofu – herbed is nice
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
3-4 tbsp mayo
1 tsp coarse ground dijon mustard
1 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp sweet paprika
1/4 tsp tarragon
salt and fresh black pepper to taste
– in a bowl, mush up the tofu with your hands (squish squish) until it’s mushy like ricotta.  Mix in the remaining ingredients, adjusting to your own taste, then stuff into breadish things and nom.
Scallion Flatbread 
makes two 10″ breads
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 all-purpose flour
2 tsp hazelnut oil
a good pinch of salt
1/4 cup fine-chopped scallion
6-8 tbsp warm water (it will really depend)
– In a large bowl mix together the flours, oil, salt, and scallion.  Slowly splash in the water and mix until a dough is formed.  Knead it for a minute or two – it should be a wet dough, but if it gets too wet (and it might due to onion moisture), just add a bit more flour and keep going.  When it’s slightly elastic, pop it back into the bowl and cover it with a towel.  Let that sit for a few minutes while you heat up a heavy iron skillet over medium heat.  Take out the dough and divide in two balls, dip them in flour and roll them flat (I usually get a 10″ circle), then cook in the dry skillet about 2 minutes each side, until brown spots appear and it smells toasty.  Instant lunch!

Thank you everybody, for the commiseration about dumb boy things… it actually made me feel so much better! Thankfully it all worked out and I could quickly get back to business making cookies *constantly* with Pomme as we get closer and closer to perfecting the art of the invented cookie. And also we can make a batch in about 3 minutes. And also, they are all delicious (okay, some were dog biscuits, but most had chocolate and were… delicious).

These were actually from a recipe… the infamous Crispy Peanut Butter cookies from VwaV that have legendary crumbling abilities (oooweeeeoooooo). They actually held together pretty nicely once you let them cool. And so toasty-sweet melt in your mouth-y!

And that kinda necessitated a small batch of Extraveganza Crispy Peanut Butter cookies for comparison (the page of which I had actually bookmarked that morning… the great minds of Pomme and I thinking alike once again!). They called for oat flake cereal – yummy! – and were so so so close to the first PB cookies I used to make as a kid. The dense and chewy kind, my favourite.

These are only one of many a muffin Pomme’s made recently. All without recipes, most perfectly addictive and warming, and so muffiny it kinda isn’t even fair to the vegetables in the fridge that definitely don’t get eaten when she pulls a fresh batch out of the oven. These apple cinnamon ones were just mouthfuls of autumn.

I made some bread at some point… loosely based on the Struan bread from the Freshloaf, except with amaranth instead of oat bran, brown rice syrup instead of honey, some added flax seeds, less yeast, way more whole wheat flour, and some leftover cooked amaranth too, to use it up. Perfect toast bread! Really nummy. Like a party at the grain cupboard and my fig jam was invited.

We also had to give it a spin as BLTs! Tofu bacon might be my new favouritest tofu.

Prickly pear innards look like this, and they taste quite melony.
(this was entirely inspired by the vegan 100 – I can cross one more off the list now!)

More cookies! On the bottom left, invented pistachio-date-cornmeal cookies with cardamom. The bottom rights are cardamom-oatmeal-almond (we were in a mood it seems). And on the top are probably our mascot cookie – perfect rough ‘n tumble mounds of oatmeal chocolate chip bliss. No experimentation required there, just grabbing the Earth Balance from the fridge and trying not to forget the vanilla.

And would you believe that we are neither of us fat? This is only a fraction of our output, too.
Oh, willpower. And hungry friends. One can never have too much of either. :)

I lost my camera cord! And I lost the internet due to crazy summer storms and their ease at destroying routers! So I’m sitting on a lot of pictures… will you bear with me? I have forgotten which are worthy of blogation, but I assure you, most 94% of it was delicious. Highly chewable. Well… I guess you can’t chew jam. But doesn’t it look pretty? Lame peaches became perfect ice cream topping, even though I pouted and danced all the while my mom made this, because I wanted to eat them raw. But I’m an annoying daughter like that. Yep. :D

And I invented a pizza! Which I would bet anything has actually been done before, but if you get the chance, you MUST try making a batch of samosa potatoes and laying it over pizza on a bed of pureed pineapple. It’s my new absolute favourite.

Oh, and speaking of pizza, I’ve been introduced to Ottawa’s gourmet pizzeria, Pavarazzi’s. It sounds so much like paparazzi!! Paparpizza? They have good taste in vegetarian toppings, though. No lame soggy mushrooms/green pepper combos. Sesames and roasted red peppers, artichokes and olives are the standard. Good show!

**note: I avoided the cheese bits encroaching on my nice side like the absolute plague, and am I the only vegan who takes pleasure in an increasing dislike for the smell/accidental taste of animal products? Cause cheese kind of tastes like fermented fluuuuuuuid to me now. *cough*
Appetizing! You can keep your squishy olives, sis!

Speaking of good taste (haha) and vegetarian accommodations, mum and me broke out this cast-iron grill pan that magically appeared in the pantry sometime between this visit and my last to grill up everything in sight, and some fennel besides. I also get to take the pan home! (vcon grilled tempeh tacos, here we come!). Simple dinner, yes, but I was raised on the good art of arranging a sandwich spread, and forgive me for my stereotypical tastes, but I SO do love a grilled vegetable. I think I ate 3 dinners worth of food here. It was worth it for the rosemary bread. The rosemary bread that was made of olive oil. Droolular.

Bit o’ baking. Ever tried a flapjack? I um…. hadn’t. But I was mad curious, I mean – golden syrup, margarine and oats, plus major associations to my UK heritage, I had to at least try. I succeeded at making floppy oat chews? The fat content alone is scaring me away from attempting this again… but if anyone else wants to try, I CAN highly recommend adding some lemon or lime juice to the mix, cause it makes it all lip-smacking more-ish. Too bad about the melty texture, though…

Banana bread is friendly. It shall redeem me. (yum)

As will peach right side-up cupcakes with toasted candied almond slivers on top (I should think). Which are perfect from the fridge, cold… teeth sinking through the cold fruity layer to moist almond-y crumbs…. acklejackarggggg…. s’good. I got the coveted “vegan baked goods are soooo much better than normal baked goods” comment from not one, but three separate eaters of cake. Suke-sess!

To make thine own, take one pineapple rightside-up cupcakes recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, replace fruit with appropriate fruit, add almond extract, and enjoooyyyyy. With joy! Man, I love that book, it should be renamed the Little Vegan Cake-Creation Sourcebook.

More to come in part 2!

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