Homemade Coconut Yogurt

I’ve been itching to try this yogurt recipe since I found packets of non-dairy yogurt starter at my local natural foods store. You can use whatever milk you choose for this recipe but keep in mind that the taste and texture may be different.

Coconut Yogurt

Coconut yogurt 1

Coconut yogurt 4

Ingredients

  • 2 (14 oz) cans coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp tapioca flour
  • 1 packet non-dairy yogurt starter or 4 tbsp store-bought coconut yogurt
  • 1 tbsp agave nectar, optional

Instructions

  1. If you’re going to store the yogurt in glass jars sterilize them first by pouring boiling water in them and letting them sit for 5 minutes. Pour the water out and you’re all set.
  2. Turn the oven light on and heat the oven to about 100° F, then turn off the heat.
  3. Shake the cans of coconut milk before opening. In a medium saucepan, whisk together the two cans of coconut milk until smooth.
  4. Remove about 1/3 cup of the milk from the pan and add to the tapioca flour. Whisk until the mixture is smooth, then pour it back into the pan and whisk to incorporate.
  5. Warm the coconut milk over medium heat until it starts to simmer. Turn the heat down to low and cook for 5 to 10 minutes, whisking occasionally. Once the mixture has thickened remove from the heat and let cool to approximately 100° F (it should be warm to the touch).
  6. Once the milk has cooled add the yogurt starter and the sweetener and whisk to combine.
  7. Pour the yogurt into the jar(s) and set in the oven. You can also use a yogurt maker if you have one. Let the yogurt sit for 12 to 24 hours, then cool in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours.

After sitting for about 12 hours my yogurt tasted pretty coconut-y and sweet. For tangier yogurt you can let it sit in the oven longer. I added blueberry puree to one of the jars just to mix things up and it’s really good.

Source: Adapted from the kitchn

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Spiced Stout Waffles

I spent last weekend at the DFL State Convention (my first time!) and did not have the time or energy to pull something together for last week’s recipe. I’ve had some tasty stout beer (Furthermore’s Three Feet Deep) in my fridge for a while and this seemed like the perfect way to use it. The earthy flavor of the beer pairs well with the cardamom and cinnamon in this recipe.

Spiced Stout Waffles

Waffles

Ingredients

  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • cup buttermilk (room temperature)
  • cup stout beer (room temperature)
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp cardamom
  • eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla

Instructions

  1. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Add the buttermilk and the stout beer, and stir everything together. My butter solidified a bit because I used cold buttermilk and beer, but it melted back in once everything was warmed through. Once the mixture is warm remove the pan from the heat and shut off the burner.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the flours, salt, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, cinnamon and cardamom together.
  3. In another large bowl, whisk the eggs until they’re well beaten. Add the vanilla and whisk some more. Pour about one cup of the warm buttermilk/beer mixture into the eggs and whisk vigorously. Pour the rest of the liquid mixture into the bowl, whisking constantly until it’s all combined.
  4. Add the liquid mixture to the dry mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until the flour is fully incorporated. The batter should be kind of lumpy – do not overmix.
  5. Spray preheated waffle iron with non-stick cooking spray. Pour batter into the waffle iron and cook until the waffles are golden brown.

The lesson I learned today – I’m not very good at using a waffle maker. My waffles turned out a bit soggy and didn’t look the best, but they tasted wonderful, especially with some pumpkin butter on top.

Source: Adapted from Food 52.

Blueberry Cardamom Chia Seed Pudding

I got a coffee/spice blender for Christmas and have been waiting for an opportunity to use it. I had leftover cardamom and chia seeds from a couple recipes so I decided to give the recipe below a shot. The spice grinder worked really well, though it did take a while to get the cardamom ground as finely as I wanted. This was my first time using chia seeds in a recipe like this, and the result, though a bit odd looking, was quite tasty.

Blueberry Cardamom Chia Seed Pudding

Pudding 1

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup chia seeds
  • 2 1/2 cups almond milk
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Note: I had a little bit less than 1/2 cup of chia seeds, so I reduced the rest of the recipe accordingly.

Instructions

  1. Throw everything in a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Pour mixture into a container and stir thoroughly with a whisk or fork. Let rest for about five minutes and stir again. Wait ten minutes and stir one last time, before placing in the refrigerator overnight.

Some comments on the original recipe indicated that the cardamom flavor was a bit strong, but I really like it.

Source: Slightly adapted from Food 52.

Vegan Whole Wheat English Muffins

Greetings and Happy New Year! I’ve been sick with some sort of upper respiratory thing since Christmas Eve, so I haven’t been cooking as much as usual. It’s not super fun to cook (for myself or others) when I have random, unpredictable coughing fits from time to time. I’m hoping whatever it is that I have is finally on the way out.

I started a (mostly) dairy-free diet over a year ago, which has forced me to pay far closer attention to food labels than I did before. While limited amounts of dairy in baked goods is usually fine, I try to avoid it if I can. Many store-bought baked goods have some sort of dairy product in them (often whey), so I’m always grateful when I can find a product or a recipe that does not contain dairy.

Vegan Whole Wheat English Muffins

English muffins

Yield: 16-20 muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 cup warm almond milk or other non-dairy milk (regular, unsweetened is best)
  • 3 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 packet of instant yeast
  • 3 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup dairy-free butter substitute (I used Earth Balance), melted
  • Cornmeal for dusting

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the warm water, almond milk, sugar, and yeast. Let stand until frothy. Meanwhile, whisk the flours and salt together in another large bowl.
  2. Whisk the melted butter substitute into the yeast mixture. Add the flour and salt mixture one or two cups at a time and mix well. I started with the whisk and eventually just used my hands as the dough became sticky and tougher to work with. Knead the dough for 30 seconds to 1 minute, then place in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a towel. Let sit 1 to 1 1/2 hours until it has about doubled in bulk.
  3. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and sprinkle with cornmeal.
  4. Once dough has risen, punch it down and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll out until it’s about 1 inch thick. If you have a biscuit cutter you can use that to cut out the muffins, otherwise use something round (with sharp enough edges to cut the dough), about 3 1/2 inches in diameter. I used a plastic kitchen funnel.
  5. Place muffins on the parchment paper-lined baking sheet. I turned the muffins over a few times to make sure both sides had cornmeal on them. Cover with a towel and let sit 30 to 40 minutes to rise some more.
  6. Preheat oven to 325°F, and heat a lightly oiled griddle to 300°F. Place the muffins on the griddle and cook each side until browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer the muffins to a baking sheet and finish in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes. Let cool briefly on the pan, then transfer to wire cooling racks.

While these are a little less light and fluffy than store-bought english muffins, they taste pretty good. This recipe makes a lot of muffins; you can toss them in the freezer if you’re not going to eat them right away.

Source: Adapted from About.com, with a few tidbits from SavorySimple

Apple Butter Fruit Cake with Streusel Topping

I LOVE autumn! It is by far my favorite season, for a number of reasons – the seasonal food is great, the crisp air is awesome for breathing and bonfires, and both my birthday and Thanksgiving (a time to be thankful, see family, AND eat yummy food!) are during autumn.

I enjoy going to orchards and picking my own apples, and I love buying locally made goodies like fruit butters. This recipe, with its blend of apple butter and spices, reminds me of autumn, particularly when it’s baking and spreading it’s delicious smell throughout the house.

Apple Butter Fruit Cake with Streusel Topping

Apple Butter Cake 2

Ingredients

Topping

  • 1/8 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/8 cup chopped pecans
  • 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 3 Tbsp packed light brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Cake

  • 2 cups minus two Tbsp white whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup lightly packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup apple butter
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup raisins (golden and/or regular)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with tin foil and spray the foil with nonstick spray.
  2. To make topping, mix together topping ingredients in small bowl. Set aside.
  3. To make cake, whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, and cloves in medium bowl.
  4. In a separate large bowl, beat eggs with electric mixer until they thicken a bit. Gradually add the brown sugar to the eggs, beating until the mixture is light and fluffy.
  5. Reduce the mixer speed to low setting and mix in apple butter, oil, and vanilla. Add flour mixture and beat until just blended. Stir in the apricots and raisins.
  6. Pour the batter into the foil-lined pan, and sprinkle topping over the top. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven and allow to cool before serving.

This cake is sweet enough to be dessert, but healthy enough to be on the breakfast menu. I would definitely make more topping next time, and probably throw in some chopped dried apples instead of the raisins.

UPDATE: I made this cake again for a work breakfast. I made more streusel topping and threw in some fresh chopped apple instead of the raisins…even better than before!

Source: Adapted from Weight Watchers Momentum Healthy Cooking Basics

Chocolate-Zucchini Muffins

As I’ve written before, I often find myself using leftover ingredients – things that I’ve used in other recipes that sit around for a while in my fridge – when I cook. This works especially well with things like fresh herbs and certain types of produce, that tend to have shorter shelf lives.

The other day I cut up some zucchini to take as part of my lunch and realized that I don’t really like zucchini, especially when raw.  I was looking through some recipes last night and found one that would use most of the leftover zucchini. It also called for cocoa powder, which meant that I would get to eat a chocolatey baked good, which doesn’t happen often when one is on a mostly dairy-free diet (unless I bake said chocolatey baked goods myself).

Chocolate-Zucchini Muffins

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins 2

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cup whole grain pastry flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 ripe banana, mashed
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 to 1 c raw sugar (depending on sweetness level you prefer)
  • 1/4 cup lactose-free milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup shredded zucchini

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and grease/spray muffin pan or paper liners, depending on what you plan to use. I use paper liners because they look nice and keep the muffin together.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
  3. In a large bowl, mix mashed banana with oil and sugar, then add in the milk, vanilla and zucchini.
  4. Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients little by little, stirring until just combined.
  5. Spoon batter into muffin cups until about 3/4 full.
  6. Bake for 18 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  7. Let cool in the pan for a few minutes before transferring muffins to a wire cooling rack.

You can sub out the milk for a non-dairy version to make this recipe vegan.

Source: Adapted from The Happy Herbivore by Lindsay S. Nixon

Wild Rice Pancakes

I don’t know about you, but I loooove wild rice. Its nutty flavor and chewy texture is great. Wild rice is also high in protein and fiber and low in fat, making it a healthy option. AND the most commonly harvested variety of wild rice grows right here in Minnesota.

Wild Rice

I used some good ol’ Minnesota wild rice to make pancakes. This recipe calls for green onions;  bright, tart flavor complements the nuttiness of the wild rice well. These pancakes are perfect for breakfast with a little bit of fruit spread or anytime you want something light and healthy. Make sure that you have enough time to cook the wild rice (around 55 minutes) if you haven’t made it ahead of time.

 Wild Rice Pancakes

WR Pancakes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/4 cups non-dairy milk
  • 1/4 cup melted Earth Balance
  • 2 large eggs, separated
  • 1 cup cooked wild rice
  • 3 green onions, chopped

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl combine flour, baking powder, salt, and cayenne pepper.
  2. Add milk and Earth Balance, whisking until blended. Stir in the egg yolks.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites at medium speed until stiff peaks form.
  4. Fold rice, green onions, and egg whites into the flour mixture.
  5. Pour about 1/4 batter for each pancake onto a hot griddle (I used an electric griddle, set at about 350 degrees)
  6. Cook pancakes until the batter gets bubbly and they’re lightly browned; flip and cook a few more minutes.

These come out thin enough that you could cover them with butter, fruit spread or whatever you like and roll them up, crepe style. Yum.

Source: Adapted from  MyRecipes