maca energy bars

These are really Maca Energy Balls– but that title just might get my site shut down. This recipe was featured in a long-ago cooking class, but it’s one I make for other events, too, and folks always ask about the recipe. These are great snacks to keep in the car, or in your desk for a quick pick-me-up.

Dates are great sources of natural sugars, perfect for after a workout (or just a long day at work!). Maca- if you don’t know- is a teeny turnip-looking root native to South America. It is a delicious supplement that can help with energy, libido, and adrenal function. Most importantly, though, it tastes like caramel malty yumminess. If you are not interested in maca, substitute cacao/cocoa, or just leave it out entirely; nutty cinnamon date balls will still be delish.


Maca Energy Balls

½ cup almonds
½ cup walnuts
pinch salt
3 Tablespoons maca powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¾ cup Medjool dates, pitted
1-2 Tablespoons coconut oil
1-2 Tablespoons water

  1. Add nuts and salt into food processor.  Blend until very fine- much like the texture of sand.
  2. Add in the remaining ingredients, starting with just one Tablespoon of the oil. Blend again, until mixture begins to thicken and stick together inside the processor.
  3. Check the texture by pinching a bit between your fingers; if it is slightly sticky and keeps its shape, it is ready! Add 1 Tbsp more liquid if mixture is too dry.
  4. Pour into a bowl and then shape with your hands into balls (or press into a pan to flatten). Place 1 almond in the center, and store in the fridge.

Yield: About 15, one inch energy balls

getting ready for the MoFo!

hey everyone! I hope you are as excited as I am about the VeganMoFo. Join Vibrant Wellness Journal and hundreds of others starting October 1 2012. We are going to be celebrating a whole month of vegan food love!

these little guys are SO good!

I might have eaten this whole plate.

Today I am excited about these gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free cookies from Nicole at A Dash of Compassion. An adapted version of these little treats can be found here on Vibrant Wellness Journal.

vegan carrot cake!

More specifically, Coconut Ginger Macadamia Nut Carrot Cake as the happy birthday cake for the farmer!

Happy Birthday to my old man!

This is a recipe that I tried years ago from Vegan with a Vengeance; I didn’t love it then, but when I was thinking about which cake to make for his birthday this one popped into my head. Despite moldy all-purpose flour (which I chucked, of course), despite breaking the cake into three pieces as I was putting it on the cooling racks,  and despite being a wee bit overcooked, it still turned out quite well. Of course I want to share it here, because the end result was beautiful and tasty!

Coconut Ginger Macadamia Nut Carrot Cake with Maple Ginger Frosting

(adapted from VwaV by Isa Chandra Moskowitz; makes one 8×8 cake; a note: check out this quick post if you are going to make this cake! These are some pointers! )

3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour (see note below)
1/2 cup white spelt flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
pinch sea salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup apple juice
1/4 cup liquid coconut oil
6 tbsp turbinado sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup ground macadamia nuts
1 cup shredded carrots (about 3 carrots, grated on a cheese grater)
2 tsp grated fresh ginger

  1. Preheat the oven to 350degrees. Line a square or round cake pan with parchment paper, and grease the sides with coconut oil.
  2. In a large bowl mix the flours, b. powder, b. soda, salt, spices, and coconut. Stir to combine.
  3. In another larger bowl mix the juice, oil, sugar, maple syrup, and extract. If your apple juice and/or maple syrup are in the fridge, you will have to warm this liquid mixture to keep the coconut oil from solidifying. I simply put my pyrex bowl (oven safe!) in the preheating oven until all the coconut oil was melted and the mixture was blendable).
  4. Pour the dry ingredients into wet, mix for a few strokes, and then add the nuts, carrots, and ginger. Combine gently until just mixed (no dry spots). Pour into your prepared pan and smooth the top.
  5. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center.  Cool on racks (try to not break it!).

don't break the birthday cake!

A note on the flours: As I was making this recipe I realized that my all-purpose flour was a bit sticky and off (which explains why my cookies didn’t turn out well yesterday!).  I made a quick substitution with whole wheat pastry flour, which is always a good substitute for at least half the flour in a recipe.  But I wanted to make sure the cake retained the lightness of the AP flour, so I used a white spelt flour, which is significantly lighter than whole spelt flour; I also just learned that in order to substitute with spelt you should add some extra flour, which is included in the above measurements.  If you opt to use all-purpose, or a combination of AP and WWPF, keep the flour measurements to 1 cup + 3 tbsp only.

Another note: be sure to use parchment and grease the pan. Let it cool completely before removing from the pan, and do so very gently! Also, so choose the turbinado sugar; I tried using coconut sugar for another batch and it did not work out as nicely as the photo!

pretty..... delicious

Maple Ginger Frosting

1/2 cup toasted coconut
1/4 cup toasted shredded carrot
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup earth balance, room temperature
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp maple extract
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 tsp dried ground ginger

  1. While your oven is preheating for the cake, toast the carrot and coconut.  Simply add to a pan and put in the oven for about 10 minutes, until you can smell the coconut toasting.  Be careful to not let it burn- when it comes out of the oven it will still cook.  Toss with the cinnamon, and let cool on the side.
  2. Whip the EB with a whisk until smooth.  Sift in the powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time (very important to sift, or you get clumpy frosting!).  Add in the extracts and ginger, and whip until well combined.  Add a splash of soymilk if the frosting is too dry; alternatively, add more powdered sugar if it is too saucy.
  3. When your cake is cool, frost with a thin layer, then add a thicker layer and spread evenly across the top.  Sprinkle the toasted carrots & coconut on top.  Enjoy!

cooking class: eat your greens!

kale is easily my favorite vegetable,  and anyone who knows me knows that i am a big cheerleader for all leafy greens: kales, collards, mixed greens, even sometimes bitter greens like turnip, radish, and mustard (well ok, not mustards).  i’ve been growing greens for years now (both and home and on farms) and i like to grow them as much as i like to eat them! i have baby collards, red kales, green kales, and chard ready to plant as soon as it stops raining! and last week i wanted to share some of my greens passion in the cooking class.

cooking class was a trio of trios: using three different greens (kales, collards, and swiss chard), three easy cooking methods (blanching, steaming, and sauteing), and three delicious recipes to encourage everyone to eat your greens!

read more here about how healthy kale is: andi nutrient density scale

and for more kale love check out some previous bakerymanis posts:

Sun-Dried Tomato and Swiss Chard Soup

This warming recipe is adapted from Vegetarian Times Healing Recipes Cookbook (2011). This recipe serves eight.

2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 medium onion, chopped (1 1/2 cups)
2 medium carrots, sliced (1 cup)
1/2 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
2 cups vegetable broth or water
2 15-oz. cans diced tomatoes
1 15-oz. can small white beans or cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped, plus 2 Tbs. oil from jar
1/2 bunch (6 oz.) Swiss chard, ribs removed and chopped
1/2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
1 cup torn fresh basil

  1. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and red pepper flakes, and cook 1 minute, or until garlic is fragrant. Stir in onion, carrots, and rosemary, and cook 10 to 15 minutes, or until onions are soft.
  2. Add broth, 1 can tomatoes, and beans to the saucepan. Scoop out 1 cup of this mixture and add to the food processor or blender; add the remaining can of tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, and sun-dried tomato oil into the food processor, and purée until smooth.  Stir the puree into the soup, season with salt and pepper, if desired, and simmer 10 more minutes.
  3. Add Swiss chard and thyme; simmer until chard is wilted. Remove pan from heat, and stir in basil.

Sauteed Bitter Greens

Bitter greens include turnip greens, radish greens, mustard greens, collards, and even kale. If you don’t like bitter greens you can use a light kale.

4 cups greens, torn and washed
1 tbsp olive oil or butter
½ cup raisins or currants
½ cup hempseeds

  1. Wash and tear the greens into bite-sized pieces.
  2. Heat up the oil or butter in a skillet until bubbling.  Add greens and stir constantly until bright green and slightly wilted.
  3. Add the raisins and hempseeds and stir to combine.
  4. Remove from heat and serve immediately.

Lemon & Macadamia Nut Kale

The sweetness of the lemon and the saltiness of the shoyu combined with the buttery macadamia nuts creates a kale dish that tastes better than you can imagine.  Be prepared to eat the whole recipe yourself!

1 bunch lacinato kale (about 4 cups), washed and torn
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tsp soy sauce
¼ cup ground toasted macadamia nuts

  1. Wash and tear the kale into bite-sized pieces; leave the kale to drain in a metal colander.  In a small bowl mix the lemon and soy sauce and set aside.
  2. Heat up two inches of water in saucepan until boiling.  Put the colander directly into the pot, and cover. Steam the kale until bright green and wilted, fluffing with tongs. Remove from heat, and toss to remove any remaining moisture.
  3. Put the steamed kale into a large bowl and toss with the lemon and soy sauce, and then add the ground macadamia nuts.  Toss gently, and serve immediately.

autumn wonderful

though we live in the tropics (technically we are sub-tropical, whatever) i was raised in the midwest and i have fond food memories of autumn. to me this season means squash, apples, pumpkins, and gravies, and a host of other cozy things that don’t really seem quite right in the heat of the summer. over the past weeks the weather here has shifted: the mornings are cooler, the ocean smells like october, and i am thinking of things to bake (all the while reminiscing of maple trees, cider mills, and pumpkin patches of my youth).  these are some hearty, cool weather dinners (and some muffins too) that are sure to keep you cozy.

oh yes, and i am feeling better and have pushed aside the eating lightly thing in favor of some serious food!

squash lasagna, two ways

squash lasagna roll made with creamy hemp-basil sauce: homegrown & dried basil!

i really wanted to make squash lasagna roll-ups, but my box of lasagna noodles yielded only two whole noodles.  really, just two?!? so this recipe could be used in a few different ways- once you determine the integrity of your cooked noodles, you can decide on rolls or a layered lasagna.  i made a few little rolls, and then made a traditional layer lasagna with all the broken noodles.  if you are making the layered version it makes a 8×8 pan, enough for four people or lots of leftovers!

1 package of lasagna noodles (my box contained only 10 noodles?!?)
2 cups chopped kabocha pumpkin
1/2 cup sliced onion
2 cloves garlic, sliced
2 cups chopped lacinato kale
1/2 cup pecans, toasted and ground
a big pinch of nutmeg, salt, pepper, and dried basil (add more to taste)
one small jar of pasta sauce (i like rising moon organics), homemade or purchased

i like to bake kabocha, but you can also steam it.  cut your pumpkin in half, then into cubes.  chop off the skin at some point in the chopping process (the skin is edible, but will make the filling less smooth).  bake the squash at 350 for half hour, or until fork-tender; you can toast the pecans at the same time.  wash and chop the onions, garlic and kale.  saute the onions and garlic until just browned in a castiron pan; turn off the heat, toss in the kale, and let it wilt.  when the kabocha is cooked, mix in a large bowl with the onions, garlic, kale and spices & herbs.  mix well.

to make lasagna rolls: lay one noodle flat, add about 3 tbsp kabocha mix to the roll, and roll until sealed.  line in a baking dish, cover with sauce (tomato or basil creme) and bake for about 10-15 minutes to set the flavors.  let cool before eating.

to make a layer lasagna: pour some tomato sauce on the bottom of the baking pan, then add a layer of noodles, a layer of kabocha mix, then cover with more noodles and sauce, until you use up the kabocha mix.  top with more sauce and grated cheese or ‘cheez.’

creamy hemp-basil sauce

this simple and yummy sauce makes enough for two to four small lasagna rolls, so adjust accordingly if you have more.  you can also use unsweetened/original soymilk.

1/2 cup + 2 tbsp hemp milk
2 cloves garlic
2-4 tsp earth balance
2 tsp arrowroot (or cornstarch)
pinch nutmeg, thyme, and oregano
salt & pepper to taste
as much dried basil as you want

measure out the 1/2 cup hempmilk and add the herbs; in a separate small bowl mix the 2 tbsp hempmilk and arrowroot together.  saute the garlic in a small saucepan with the earth balance until lightly browned.  lower heat and add 1/2 cup hemp milk and the basil; stir gently until heated.   add the arrowroot/hempmilk mixture and stir quicky because it will thicken almost immediately.  stir well, adding more hempmilk if you want to thin it out.  remove from heat until ready to serve; reheat gently before serving.

smokey, creamy, mushroomy good

smokey baked tofu with mushroom gravy

this recipe has cozy dinner written all over it!   it needs a lot of prep time (about 1 1/2 hours- for marinating, roasting, and then baking) but it is very worth the time.  but it’s pretty easy: most of that time is just cooking-in-the-oven time, so you can read, shower, drink tea or prep the other veggies whist your tofu is cooking.  for the first dinner we ate the mushroom tofu alongside steamed kale, creamy polenta, and slices of sweet kabocha squash.  it was so good i made it again and served with wild rice and leftover-veggie stir-fry with steamed broccoli. if you serve this with wild rice, save some of the for the autumn muffins tomorrow morning!  yields about three-four servings.

3 cups mixed mushrooms (portobello, shitake, cremini, etc.)
1/2 cup sliced onion
2-4 cloves garlic, chopped (optional)
1 tsp each caraway seeds, thyme, and basil
3/4 cup hemp milk (or other non-dairy)
2 tsp arrowroot (or cornstarch)
1 tsp shoyu
1/2 tsp agave nectar
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp smoked salt (optional)
1 block of super-firm tofu, sliced into 1 cm thick squares or similar shape

to make the tofu marinade you will also need:

smokey marinated tofu, baked to perfection

1-2 tbsp shoyu
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp liquid smoke

add these three liquid ingredients to an 8 x 8 glass baking pan.  dredge the tofu in the mixture so that both sides are covered.  cover and let marinate for 1/2 hour.  after it’s soaked, flip the tofusquares and bake at 350 degrees for half hour, flipping the tofu again at the 15 minute mark (i baked squash at the same time to save energy and time!).  remove from oven and set aside until other ingredients are ready.

chop the mushrooms, onions, garlic, leeks and set aside.  prep the creme mixture by mixing the hemp milk, arrowroot, shoyu, nutmeg, agave and smoked salt together in a bowl; set aside.  cook the onions in a cast-iron pan on the stovetop until just starting to brown, then add garlic, leeks, and herbs (caraway, thyme, and basil) and cook until garlic and leeks are just softened.  add all the chopped mushrooms and cook on medium heat until mushrooms are just wilted.  pour the onion/mushroom mixture on top of the baked tofu then pour the creme sauce over the whole thing.  do not stir.  bake at 400 for 15 minutes until bubbly; let cool for 10 minutes before eating.

whole grain autumn muffins (pumpkin-cranberry)

not entirely photogenic, but totally yummy :)

(makes 10 big vegan muffins)

1 cup whole spelt flour
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 tsp seasalt
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp spices (make your mix: cinnamon, ginger, allspice, ginger, cloves, etc)
2 tbsp flaxseeds mixed with 4 tbsp soymilk
2 tbsp coconut oil
2 tbsp apple butter
1/2 cup sucanat (or raw sugar)
1/3 cup non-dairy milk
1 cup pumpkin (i used organic canned)
3/4 cup dried cranberries
3/4 cup well-cooked wild rice
1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans

preheat your oven to 350, and grease or line 10 muffin cups.  mix the flours, oats, salt/soda/powder and spices in a big bowl, then set aside.  using a whisk or fork, whip up the flaxseeds and water and let it sit for a few minutes.  add in the coconut oil, apple butter, sucanat, milk, and pumpkin and mix until well combined.  add the dry ingredients to the wet, mix gently, then toss in the wild rice, cranberries, and nuts.  mix until all the dry flour patches disappear, but don’t overmix.  measure about 1/2 cup batter into your muffin pans; it should fill only 10 spots, but fill the 2 extra holes with water so the pan heats evenly.  bake for 20-22 minutes and let cool.  then enjoy the warm muffins with apple butter alongside spicy coffee and the farmer you love. (um, maybe that’s just me!)