Posts from the ‘Breakfast’ Category

Anytime Oatmeal Cookies

I absolutely love oatmeal cookies! These have nuts, dried fruit, and oats with lots of fiber, protein, and other nutrients, and since the dough is low in fat and sugar, these cookies are also great any time of the day. You can also warm up a small bowl full to eat like regular oatmeal. As these cookies are completely vegan (and therefore eggless), you can safely eat the dough raw. If you like, you can even makes these cookies raw vegan (with raw oats, apples, and almonds) by dehydrating them instead of baking in the oven.

This recipe is so neat! As the dough does not spread out during baking, you can shape the cookies however you like, even into bars, which makes it easier to take them on trips or to work or school. You can completely customize the ingredients too with eggs, milk, and whatever fruit and seed/nut combination you want. If you have problems with fiber, you can choose to leave out the bran entirely or add more, just make sure you adjust the amount of liquids you add. This recipe is 4 5/8 cups of liquid, 4 7/8 cups of oatmeal cookie dough, and 6 3/4 cups of mix-ins, so you will need a very, very large mixing bowl. You can, of course, reduce the amounts to create a smaller batch. There are so many options.

Cosmic Cookies6

Gluten-Free Cosmic Cookies
Adapted from Cosmic Cookies on Wellsphere.
I like these cookies so much that I doubled the recipe to add a greater variety of ingredients.

Yields about 60 cookies

1 1/4 C Warm Filtered Water
1/4 C Chia or Flax Seeds, course ground
1 C + 2 T Hulled Oats
1 C + 2 T Oat Bran
1 C Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour
1 C Almond Flour
1/2 C Sucanat
1/2 C Evaporated Cane Juice
1 T Ground Cinnamon
2 1/4 tsp Sea Salt
1 tsp Xanthan Gum
1/2 C Sunflower Seeds
1/2 C Pumpkin Seeds
1/4 C Hemp Seeds
1/2 C Chopped Walnuts or Pecans, shelled, chopped
1 C Dark Chocolate Chips
1 C Dairy-Free Malted or Regular Carob Chips
1/2 C Sulfur-Free Unsweetened Finely Shredded Coconut
1/2 C Dried Cranberries
1/2 C Golden Raisins
1/2 C Chopped Dried Figs
1/2 C Chopped Apricots
5 T + 1/8 tsp Blue Agave Nectar
1/4 C Sulfur-Free Blackstrap Molasses
1/4 C Filtered Water
1 C Unsweetened Apple Sauce
1 C Almond or Other Dairy-Free Milk

In a small bowl with a fork, beat ground chia or flax seeds together with 1 1/4 cup water. Set aside for 15 to 20 minutes to allow seeds to gel and soak up the liquid, stirring about every five minutes to avoid clumps.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2-3 baking trays with parchment paper.

Cosmic Cookies1

Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl.

Cosmic Cookies2

In a medium bowl, combine the wet ingredients, including remaining 1/4 cup water. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry.

Cosmic Cookies3

Use a 1/3 measuring cup to portion out the dough about two inches apart onto baking sheets. Gently flatten cookies with your fingers or a spoon, as this dough will not spread out as it cooks. Bake for 25 minutes or until lightly browned.

Cosmic Cookies4

Pudgy Pies

I first tried out cooking hand pies with this method several years ago while car camping with Adriann and a bunch of other friends. I tested out hers to make a very yummy snack and have wanted a set ever since, especially now that we have a fire pit on our back patio. Unfortunately, other than on Amazon or other online stores, pie irons are rather challenging to find. So when I saw them in one of our local overstock stores, I bought two right away as an early Valentine’s Day gift for my husband. Pie irons are fantastic usually long-handled cast iron hand-pie makers (like a waffle irons) for cooking over an open flame or camp fire. You can either use dough or slices of bread to make the piecrust, but keep in mind that thinner crusts will allow more room for fillings. They are easy to make in these irons and are an incredibly simple comfort food. The outside is nice and toasty, while the fillings are warm and gooey on the inside. Since you get to choose your own toppings, you can make the pies meaty, cheesy, vegan, gluten free, healthy, or however you like.

Pie Irons

To make a hand pies, put a slice oil or butter-side down (to prevent it from sticking to the iron) onto the bottom half of the iron. Place your fillings, like fruit preserves, chocolate, nut butter, meat, eggs, cheese, etc., in the center of the bottom bread slice; make sure you include an ingredient that acts as a binding agent, otherwise the pie will not stay together as well. Lay a second slice of bread over the top of the fillings with the oiled side up. Close the the iron, so the top bread slice covers the filling. Clamp the iron closed. Trim off any excess bread sticking out from the sides of the iron. Place the cast iron over the fire, holding onto the wooden (or otherwise insulated) handles. Bake the hand pie for about four to six minutes rotating occasionally.

There are all sorts of recipes you can try. Richard O’Russa wrote a great looking cookbook and you can find even more recipes from Rome’s online shop, which features more information about the devices. I am sure you can find other hand pie recipes for baking with pie irons elsewhere on the the internet, as well, like here. You can also check out Pudgy Revolution’s Pudgy Pie Test Kitchen You Tube series, and if you really like their recipe ideas, you can support their pudgie pie cookbook Kickstarter.

Almond Flour Pancakes

My husband and I love almond pancakes, especially since they are tasty, versatile and gluten-free. The original recipe was not vegan, but I included egg-less options in the recipe below to make some pancakes with either “chia eggs” or “flax eggs.” We have tried out a few different versions of gluten-free pancakes, including the buckwheat pancakes from Kelly E. Keough’s Sugar-Free Gluten-Free Baking and Desserts and the mixed gluten-free flour pancakes in Kelli and Peter Bronski’s Artisanal Gluten-Free Cooking.We like this one best, so much so that I’m sharing it with you!

A while ago, we completely ran out of almond meal, which meant no more pancakes or almond flour-based foods. When I bought almonds, I kept forgetting to set aside some for making flour and we just kept snacking on them instead. Oops. This meant no almond milk either. Our focus had changed I suppose; we were eating and drinking other things instead. I really missed making my almond pie crusts and almond pancakes though. Thankfully, a friend’s family has a bakery-cafe that is only about a 15 to 20 minute drive away. We hadn’t been down to visit in a while, but was on the way to another friend in a series of theatrical performances, which provided a great excuse to go. We had a nice lunch, good catch-up chat, delicious gluten-free cookies and bought a few pounds of almond flour, too. The performances were pretty good and the plots rather moving. All in all it was a great day!

I insisted that we make pancakes the following day. I could wait no longer. Since we hadn’t made them in a while, we had to make quite a few adjustments as we were going along, tweaking the batter consistency, pan temperature and cook times. It was quite a challenge between the two of us, but we figured it out with only a few getting burned. I had forgotten to write down my recipe alterations from the last time we cooked them. Oh well, so now I am writing them down here for you and for my own reference later. For curiosity’s sake, if you have your own food blog, how often do you go back and remake the food from your recipe entries? What have you remade?

My hubby likes his pancakes rather plain with blue agave and Earth Balance spread, but I top mine with coconut oil (which provides a satisfying crunch once it cools), fresh or frozen berries, warm compote (like apples, pears or quince), pie spices, bee pollen, and blueberry or raspberry blue agave or dark amber grade A or B maple syrup, depending on my mood. Vegan homemade chocolate and nut butter chips would be tasty on top, too. I am curious to find out what eating the pancakes with a bit of molasses, ginger and apples would taste like, since molasses contains a boat load of vitamins and minerals. Has anyone tried this?

How do you make your pancakes? What do you top them with? Do you like to make special shapes? Do you try to sneak in extra vitamins? If so, how?

Almond Pancakes
Adapted from Elana Amsterdam’s The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook. The batter from the original recipe was too thick, like cake batter, so I thinned it out to prevent burning.

Yields 15 Pancakes

2 Eggs
Or 2 Chia or Flax Seed Eggs (2 T Ground Seeds + 6 – 10 T Filtered Water)
1/4 C Blue Agave Nectar
1 T Vanilla Extract*
1/2 C Filtered Water or as needed
1 1/2 C Almond Flour
1/2 tsp Himalayan Sea Salt
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1 T Arrowroot Powder
Grape Seed Oil

Optional Toppings
Coconut Oil or Earth Balance Spread
Agave Nectar, Maple Syrup, Honey or Fruit preserves
Fresh or Frozen Fruit
Hemp, Flax Seeds, Sunflower or Other Seeds
Crushed Walnuts, Pecans, Almonds, etc.
Ground Cinnamon, Carob, Cacao, Pie Spices
Bee Pollen
Gluten-Free Granola

In a food processor, beat the eggs. If you are making vegan pancakes with the ground chia or flax seed eggs, mix the seed meal with water in a small bowl and set aside for 15 to 20 minutes, adding more water if necessary to obtain an egg-like consistency.

In the processor, mix together the eggs, agave, extract and water on high for 1 minute. Mix in the flour, salt, baking soda and arrowroot until thoroughly combined.

In a large oiled pan over low or a little above low heat, spoon one tablespoon full of batter. Quickly spread out the batter with the edge or backside of the spoon to speed up the cooking time and ensure even cooking. Once bubbles form on the top of the batter through the bottom of the pancake, lift the edges off the pan with a spatula before flipping it over. If you just try to flip the cake over, it can squish together into a heap, depending on the thickness of pancake. Cook the other side thoroughly. Transfer the pancake to a plate and place in the oven (or microwave) to keep warm. Continue to cook the remaining batter into pancakes. Serve with desired toppings.

*You can substitute the extract with the scraped out seeds of 1 – 2 vanilla beans.

Note: If you like, you can add the nuts, seeds, fruit or spices to the batter rather than put them on top.

Autumn Buckwheat Pancakes

I had wanted to make buckwheat pancakes for a while now, since I had never eaten them before.  I usually eat buckwheat as cereal and have only otherwise eaten buckwheat in noodle form. I have heard that buckwheat pancakes are generally akin to rather dense, dry and heavy sponges-like griddlecakes, soaking up all traces of butter and syrup slathered onto them. Either you like them or you do not. Well, challenge accepted! I thought, “Why not give them a try? I bet I can make them taste great.” I was rather impressed with my little pancakes, as they came out thin, light and delicious.

The original recipe called for banana, which I would normally replace with apple sauce, but as I did not have either of these ingredients when I made the pancakes, I used pumpkin puree instead. Thankfully autumn is pumpkin season, so I can buy them at the farmers market. Although bananas are available all year long in grocery stores, they are not even remotely local and have more carbohydrates than I want, especially sugar. It really does not matter what kind of puree you use. If you want to make savory pancakes instead, you can add any myriad of vegetable purees.

Image Source:

Image Source: Chris and Jenni on Flickr

Sprouting Buckwheat
Surprisingly, buckwheat is not actually part of the wheat family, but is still considered a grain by some people due to its use as fine flour in making many baked goods. Soak the seeds (as in my previous nut preparation entry); the process is the same as with other seeds. I generally use Ani Phyo’s suggestion of soaking the seeds for about 6 hours from her book, but it is perfectly fine to soak them overnight. Rinse in a large fine mesh non-reactive (stainless steel, fabric or plastic) strainer. Rest the strainer over a bowl or container that is deep enough for the bottom of the strainer does not touch the container. Daily rinse the buckwheat groats. Mix them from the bottom to the top with a large spoon or clean hands in the strainer to provide even light and air distribution and prevent molding. Reset the strainer over the container. Repeat this process over the next two to three days or until the seeds sprout, and the “tails” grow between a 1/4 and an 1/2 inch in length. Dehydrate the seeds at 105 degrees Fahrenheit until they are crunchy. Store them in an airtight glass container, like a canning jar.

Pumpkin Buckwheat Pancakes
Adapted from Kelly E. Keough’s gluten-free baking cookbook.
This makes lots of pancakes, so cook them in a larger pan to speed up the over-all cooking time.

Yields 20 to 24 pancakes

3/4 C Rooibos Chai Tea, cooled*
1 T Flax Meal
1 C Sprouted Buckwheat Groats (see above)
1 C Egg Whites (from about 8 large eggs)
1/2 C Pumpkin Puree
1 T Blue Agave Nectar
2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
2 tsp Ground Ginger
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Optional Toppings
Grade B Maple Syrup
Flavored Blue Agave Nectar
Spiced Creamed Honey
Coconut Oil
Apple Compote
Bee Pollen
Peanut Butter Chips
Chocolate Chips
Carob Chips

For better consistency, pre-soak the flax meal in the tea for about 15 minutes, occasionally stirring.

In a food processor or high speed blender, like my Vitamix dry grain mill, grind the buckwheat into a fine meal. Add in the tea-flax mixture, egg, pumpkin, agave and spices. Blend until the ingredients are evenly distributed.

Cooking Pancakes

In an oiled pan over low heat, pour in about 2 to 3 tsp (1 tablespoon) of batter for each pancake. Spread out the batter into thin round pools of about four to six inches in diameter. Cook for several minutes on the first side. Carefully flip the pancakes over with a spatula when you can easily loosen all of the edges from the pan without scrunching the cakes into heaped messes. Cook on the second side until the edges are golden brown. Adjust the stove temperature accordingly to avoid burning your cakes during cooking. Serve warm. Decorate with your desired toppings. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Pancakes with Cranberries

Note: I included rooibos chai to aid my digestion, but you can use black or green tea versions or any spiced teas, like Good Earth’s herbal tea.
When eating leftovers during breakfast the following day, I realized these would also taste rather scrumptious with chopped pecans or walnuts added to the batter or scattered on top.

Bliss Bakery

Over the last few months, I’ve stopped by the Bliss Bakery booth almost every Saturday at the Santa Rosa farmers market to buy tasty treats (sometimes as a late not-so-healthy breakfast). If you want to buy their baked goods, make sure you go early; Bliss’s items are really popular and often sell out rather quickly. From my experiences, if you get to there around 11:00am or 12:00pm, you may find your choices a little slim. It really doesn’t matter what you buy though, since everything is very very good, vegan and gluten-free.

I have great news! Bliss Bakery now has a store front! Cori, one of the talented bakers, says the bakery is open Monday through Friday from 1:00pm to 6:00pm. They bake a variety of items daily. I went by on Thursday and bought freshly-made caramel blondies and a bunch of day-old almond maple bars, pecan “butter” cookies, chocolate chip cookies and chocolate hazelnut cookies, and the day-old items are only a dollar! The caramel blondies are much different than their chocolate chip blondies; instead of being in the regular muffin shape, they are baked in a pan like square-cut brownies. The blondies were nice and ooey-gooey after I warmed them up in the microwave for a bit. Cori said these blondies were actually a kind of experiment, but I think they turned out pretty well.

Everything looked lovely in the little pink box. It only cost $15 for the whole thing! I cleaned them out of all of the day-old cookies and bars. (We are having a painting party on Saturday, and I only had glutenous cookies in the house.) I took a picture but not until after Christopher ate two of the chocolate chip cookies and after I ate both of the blondies. Bliss’s Flax bread is nice and savory and perfect with either sesame (tahini) or almond butter spread on top. Their oatmeal raisin cookies are also scrumptious. Amazing!

When I first bought their cookies and bars (either last summer or the summer before that), I was only really impressed with the maple bars. I honestly wasn’t really impressed with their other items and only found them okay, nothing I would recommend. (At that time, The Cosmic Cookie Jar was still in Santa Rosa and had a booth at the Santa Rosa farmers market, but they don’t anymore. I really miss their mouth-watering cookies.) Since then, gluten-free recipes all over have advanced and improved, it seems, and (maybe as a result of that or merely trial and error) Bliss’s baked goods’ visual appeal, textures and flavors have improved astonishingly! Now everything tastes delicious and has great “mouth feel” and texture, definitely goodies I recommend.

I can’t wait to buy more from Bliss on Saturday. If they have another big blueberry coffee cake this week, I may have to just buy it, that is if lamb farmer from two weeks ago has lamb sausage, goat or rabbit. Some of the farmers aren’t at the market every week and are only there once or twice a month. Unfortunately, I don’t remember the names of all of the meat selling farm booths, since they seem to swap out all of the time. More than a few of the farmers are only at the market seasonally. Well, we’ll see. If the lamb farmer is there and I can get the sausage or other meats, I’ll make a post about it.  ^_^

Yummy Granola

I love granola in all of it’s sweet crunchy goodness, especially the clusters. Granola is really versatile, too. You can add in all sorts of tasty goodies to it to make it even better, such as fruit, seeds, nuts and chocolate chips. It’s good all year round. You can eat it as a hot or cold cereal, add it to trail mix, layer it in a yogurt parfait, top creamy frozen treat with it, use it as a sweet crumb topping, etc.

Try not to get too carried away though. Granola may be full of nutrients, but the calories can add up quick if you don’t watch out. I try measure out my portions of nuts, seeds and fruit into my granola. That way I’m not eating too much starch, sugar, protein and what-not. You can also do half portions of a certain fruits, seeds and nuts to add more variety.

Recently my morning granola mixture’s looked like this:
3 T Not Yer Momma’s Cinnamon Granola Base
1 T Pumpkin Seeds, soaked, dehydrated
1 T Pecans, soaked, dehydrated, ground
2 tsp Unsulphured Unsweetened Dried Coconut, desiccated
1 tsp Psyllium Husks*
2 tsp Cranberries, dehydrated
2 tsp Raisins, sun-dried
1/2 C So Delicious Unsweetened Coconut Milk, warmed
1/8 tsp Ginger, ground
1/8 tsp Cloves, ground

*I only take psyllium on occasion as a supplement, and my dosage is prescribed by a nutritionist. Please be careful with how much you take. If you do take psyllium, drink at least 8 ounces of water with it.

There are so many different types of merchant booths at the local farmers markets that are just filled with amazing things! Many of them compete every autumn in the Sonoma County Harvest Fair within various food categories. Not Yer Momma’s Granola has won many awards (for all of their varieties!) several years in a row now. Their granola is amazingly delicious. You can sample everything!, and the ladies at the booth are always so nice. They are at the Santa Rosa farmers market weekly, and every time the nice ladies refill your granola bag, you get a free extra scoop. Not only do they have mixed granola cereals (Apple Cinnamon, Cardamom Apricot, Blueberry Ginger, Orange & Sour Cherry and Original with nuts), but you can also create your own combinations (so much fun!) at their booth out of their spiced granola oat bases (cinnamon, cardamom, original and organic original) and various add-ins, or you can keep it simple and just get one of their bases. I’m a big fan of their cardamom and cinnamon oats. Now if only they’d sell their ginger base, I’d buy that one, too. I know I’m not the only person to say so. I suppose I can always make my own ginger granola adapted from Rachel Schulman’s recipe over at Eat Drink Better.

Be careful with oats. Not all granola cereals are created equally. Oats, themselves are gluten free, but if your oatmeal granola does not specifically say that it’s gluten-free, then it’s safer to assume that it’s not. Often times oats are grown in fields next to barley, rye or wheat; dust or bits from the other grains can get into the oats during harvesting or processing. You might be able to get rid of the contamination by thoroughly rinsing and sprouting whole oats or soaked raw steel cut oats, but I have not tried this. If you are really worried about contaminated oats, you can just forgo the oats all together. Another way to avoid gluten in your granola is to make your own, substituting oats with buckwheat, which is a fruit seed and not a grain. (Here’s how to sprout buckwheat.) Gena’s raw buckwheat granola looks particularly good over at Choosing Raw; I’m going to have to try it out. If you’re just allergic to wheat and not gluten, you can add sprouted barley to your hot or cold cereal. (Here’s some more barley info.) Of course, you can always mix it up for a wider variety of nutrients, too.