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

Veggie Chips

I’ve had some beets in the refrigerator for quite a while now, and wanted to try something besides simply roasting them in the oven (even though they’re delicious prepared that way). I found a ton of recipes for beet salads of all kinds, but wasn’t feeling especially inspired by any of them. I found a few recipes for beet chips, but they called for deep frying them and I didn’t want to deal with the mess, so I stuck with a recipe that baked them instead. These are very easy to make and customize with whatever spices or flavors you desire.

Beet and Sweet Potato Chips

Veggie Chips

Ingredients

  • 2-3 medium beets, scrubbed and thinly sliced
  • 1 – 2 medium sweet potatoes, scrubbed and thinly sliced
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Other spices of your choosing (Thyme is good on sweet potatoes)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Place sliced vegetables in a bowl, and add enough olive oil to lightly coat them. Add the salt, pepper, and other spices and stir to make sure all the pieces are coated.
  3. Place the beet and sweet potato slices on baking sheets. Cooking time really depends on how thinly sliced the beets and sweet potatoes are – mine took quite a long time because they were sliced thicker. I’d shoot for 10- 15 minutes to start, then check them. If they seem pretty close to being done, flip them over and bake for another 10-15 minutes. You want these nice and crispy. When the chips are done let them cool on cooling racks.

Source: Adapted from Cooking Light

Spiced Mango Lassi

I’m on a tight schedule this week as I head off to DC tomorrow morning for a women’s equality rally, so I perused my collection of recipes looking for something quick and easy to make, and voilà – mango lassi. I’ve written about my love of Indian food, and particularly mango lassi, before and figured I’d give it a try. This recipe results in quite a bit of spice flavor; if that’s not your thing just cut back on the spices or eliminate them entirely.

Spiced Mango Lassi

Mango Lassi

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups diced, peeled, pitted mango (about 1 to 1 1/2 fruits)
  • 1 cup plain nonfat yogurt
  • 1 cup ice cubes
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1 1/2 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground cardamom

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. For best results serve immediately, but you can also freeze this if you want to save some for later.

Source: Slightly adapted from The Bon Appetit Fast Easy Fresh Cookbook by Barbara Fairchild, as cited in Pioneer Press “Eat” section, 8/14/2014

Whole Wheat Banana Chapatis

And this is the other recipe for the weekend… not what I intended to make, but the recipe I was going to make called for buttermilk and I was too lazy to get some this morning and don’t want to buy something like that right before going out of town. These are made with whole wheat flour, which certainly makes me feel better about eating them.

Whole Wheat Banana Chapatis

Chapatis

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cups plus 3 tbsp whole wheat flour, plus more for rolling, divided use
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 large ripe bananas
  • 1/4 cup boiling water
  • melted butter for brushing (optional)

Instructions

  1. In a large mixing bowl whisk together 1 3/4 cups flour, sugar, and salt. Add the vegetable oil, and work it into the dry ingredients with your fingers.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl mash the bananas. Spray your hands with some nonstick cooking spray and knead the bananas into the flour mixture.
  3. Lightly flour whatever work surface you’ll be using to knead and roll out the dough. Stir the bowling water into the dough, and let cool slightly. Knead the mixture into a sticky dough and then turn it out onto the work surface. Work the remaining flour into the dough, and knead until it’s soft. Cover the dough with a damp cloth and let it sit for 20-30 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, heat a large cast-iron or nonstick skillet over medium heat (or in my case, medium-ish, as my stove is a bit overzealous).
  5. Divide the dough into eight equal parts and roll each into a ball. Cover with the damp cloth again.
  6. Take one ball of dough and coat it in flour. Roll it out into about a 7-inch round. Place in the skillet and watch for bubbles to form on the surface. When you see bubbles turn over the chapati  and cook for another minute or so. Repeat the process with the other dough balls, cleaning out the skillet as needed. If you want to eat these right away you can brush them with the melted butter, and stack them on a plate under a dish towel to keep them warm.

I ate one chapati with peanut butter (yum) and the other with some banana slices that I cooked in a skillet with some water and brown sugar for a few minutes (and I added peanut butter – I love the stuff!). The banana flavor in these is pretty subtle but they are a tad sweet which makes them ideal for breakfast/snack/dessert.

Source: Adapted from a recipe in the Washington Post, via the Pioneer Press

Cinnamon Sugar Apple Chips

I’m going out of town this week (NYC and Duluth, MN) and thought I’d aim for posting two recipes this weekend as I don’t think I’ll have time to make and post one next weekend.

This is another autumn-y recipe that I’m making in the spring because 1) I like apple chips and 2) I’m always looking for healthy, portable snacks that I can take with me to work or when I’m out and about. I made my first batch a few weeks ago and they didn’t turn out well – they were still really chewy. This batch turned out much better – light and crispy. In fact, I’ve eaten almost half of them already and they only came out of the oven a few hours ago.

Cinnamon Sugar Apple ChipsApple Chip Close Up

Ingredients

  • 2-4 apples
  • cinnamon
  • granulated sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 200° F.
  2. Line baking sheets (one sheet will hold approximately one average-sized  apple) with parchment paper.
  3. Rinse and core the apples. Thinly slice the apples with a mandolin or a sharp knife.
  4. Place the apple slices in a single layer on the baking sheets and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.
  5. Bake for 1 hour, the turn the apple slices ad bake for another 1.5 hours. You can sprinkle them with more cinnamon and sugar after turning if you wish.
  6. Turn the oven off and let the apple slices sit in the oven for 1 hour to crisp up.

I used two types of apples, Granny Smith and Golden Delicious, and found that I liked the tart flavor of the Granny Smith better. The Golden Delicious apples don’t have a ton of flavor to begin with, and they seem to have even less after they’ve been baked. You can make this healthier by omitting the cinnamon and sugar, but I think they add a nice complementary flavor, especially if you use tart apples.

Source: Adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction

Chocolate Coconut Quinoa Cookies

Chocolate Coconut Quinoa Cookies

I’m having some friends over tomorrow night, which seemed like a good reason to finally try this recipe. These cookies came about by accident, as I neglected to note that I was supposed to let the quinoa cool before adding it to the bowl, so my chocolate chips got all melty. I think I’ll actually like this “modified” recipe better, because the chocolate flavor is present throughout the cookie  as opposed to being concentrated in bits of chocolate.

Chocolate etc Cookies 1

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa (freshly cooked so it’s still warm)
  • 1/2 cup desiccated coconut (sweetened)
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chunks or chips (I used Hershey’s Special Dark chips)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375° F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.
  3. With a stand or handheld mixer, cream the butter, brown sugar, and honey until it’s light and fluffy. Add the eggs, vanilla, and almond extract, and mix well.
  4. Add the flour mixture 1/2 cup at a time and mix until incorporated. Mix in the coconut and chocolate, then stir in the quinoa, making sure the chocolate chips/chunks get nice and melty.
  5. Place tablespoon-sized amounts of dough roughly 1-inch apart on baking sheets. Bake for 12-14 minutes, until top is firm.

Source: Adapted from Food 52

Easter 2014: Peanut Butter Eggs

A few weeks ago I decided that I was going to start eating less refined carbs and sugar, because I noticed that my energy levels got all wacky when I ate too much (or even some) of either. I’ve certainly set myself up for something other than success these last two weeks, making foods that contain lots of carbs and/or sugar. *Shrugs* I simply couldn’t resist whipping up a batch of one of my favorite Easter candies – peanut butter eggs.

Peanut Butter Eggs

Peanut Butter Eggs

Ingredients

  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 cups chocolate chips (I used semi-sweet, to knock down the sweetness level a bit)
  • 2 tbsp vegetable shortening

Instructions

  1. Line a baking sheet with wax paper and set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan combine the peanut butter, butter, and brown sugar over medium heat. Heat until everything is melted together and it starts to get bubbly, stirring pretty consistently throughout the melting process. Remove from heat.
  3. Add the powdered sugar to the peanut butter mixture about 1/4 cup at a time. I used a whisk to mix it all together because it did a better job of breaking up the powdered sugar and making it nice and smooth. I switched to a wooden spoon when it became much thicker and harder to mix. Cool to room temperature; pop it in the fridge if you want it to cool faster.
  4. Using a spoon or your hands, scoop out the peanut butter mixture and shape into egg shapes. Put the “eggs” on the baking sheet and place in the refrigerator or freezer until they’re set.
  5. In a large, microwave-safe bowl, melt the chocolate chips and shortening on 50% power for 30 second increments, stirring as needed, until completed melted. Change out the wax paper on the baking sheet. Dip the peanut butter eggs in the chocolate, flipping them with a fork and letting the excess chocolate drip off before placing them back on the baking sheet and into the refrigerator/freezer.

I like to keep these in the freezer because I like the taste/texture of them frozen, but you can keep them in the refrigerator if you’d like. These are very sweet/rich, so it might be a good idea to eat them with a glass of milk (dairy or not).

Source: Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker