Easy peaches-n-cream scones

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So, it’s full-on holiday season for a lot of people around here. Many parties and so on. We had an fun party this weekend where a lot of sweet friends came over and became even sweeter after being coated in royal icing and candy to decorate gingerbread houses.

I don’t know about you, but I can feel pretty tired the next day, even if I haven’t had much to drink (probably comes from no longer being in my 20s, too). A lazy post-party Sunday can call for a slightly rich breakfast with very little effort. That’s when you should make these scones.

Peaches and Cream Scones

An original recipe by Agent Minty

Makes 12 large scones

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups + 1 Tbsp  (250g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp white sugar
  • 4 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup (about 130g) drained canned peach segments, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 6 Tbsp coconut cream from a can
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 Tbsp (45g) cold Earth Balance or hard margarine
  • 3 Tbsp (45g) shortening
  • 2 tsp white sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder

Instructions:

  1. Preheat over to 450F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk together flour, 2 Tbsp sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine peaches, milk, coconut cream, and extracts.
  4. Using a pastry cutter or two knives, cut fat into the dry ingredients until the crumbs are the size of peas.
  5. Pour wet ingredients in and fold/stir gently until everything is combined. Dough will be quite wet!
  6. Plop the dough on the cookie sheet approximately 1/3-cup at a time, with 2 inches between each mound. Divide any remaining dough equally between all 12 scones.
  7. Combine sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over scones.
  8. Bake for 11-12 minutes, rotating sheet once.
  9. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Vegan Greek No-gurt and Granola

Closeup Vegan Yogurt

I am exceptionally proud of this recipe. This will be a game-changer to those of you who love the creaminess of yogurt but choose to go animal-free. This is better than the chalky stuff that was available six years ago. This is creamier than the lumpy cultured soy product that’s been around for years. This is on par with the current coconut and almond yogurts, but with less sugar, refined and plant-based starches, and way more protein.

Don’t believe me? See the bottom of this post for a detailed nutritional comparison…. I won’t put it here to bore the people just looking for vegan food porn.

I’m working on a cultured version right now, but this stuff tastes just as good anyway.

Imagine it layered with fruit and cereal for breakfast. Smeared onto tacos instead of sour cream. Swirled into soups for awesome creaminess. Dive in!

No-gurt and granola

I have also included a protein-packed granola recipe to go with it. It uses a hearty mix of seeds, grains, and nuts to keep you full.

A few notes about special ingredients:

The yogurt uses agar-agar, which I also used in my previous marshmallow recipe. This is an animal-free gelatine-like product, commonly used in asian desserts. It can be found at asian grocery stores, or at organic foods stores. You can buy flakes or powder. I prefer powder, as it is more precise to measure. My measurements are using powder, so if you can only get flakes, go by weight. It is assumed that you can use 3x the volume when subbing flakes for powder, but I have not personally tried this.

I use Soya Flakes, also called Rolled Soya, as a major ingredient in the granola. I’ve seen it online from Indian import stores, and from a british muesli store. If you’re Canadian and can get to a Bulk Barn, this is your best bet. If you can’t find soya flakes, no sweat. Use more old-fashioned oats, or try rolled Kamut flakes for a heartier crunch. I haven’t posted nutritional information for this recipe, as I suspect everyone’s choices will make macronutrient values vary.

Vegan Greek No-Gurt

An original recipe by Agent Minty

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 package traditional tofu (340g), not pressed
  • 1/4 cup coconut cream from a can – if you want less fat, use light canned coconut milk
  • 3 Tbsp +1/4 cup almond milk
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1.5 tsp (4g) agar-agar powder

Instructions:

  1. Puree tofu in a food processor or high-speed blender for at least one minute.
  2. Stir, scraping down sides of bowl, and process for at least another minute, until it is completely smooth to touch and taste.
  3. Add coconut milk, 3 Tbsp of almond milk, lemon juice, and maple syrup.
  4. Process for one more minute, scrape down bowl, and puree for another 10 seconds.
  5. Whisk agar powder into remaining 1/4 cup almond milk in a small saucepan.
  6. Heat on medium, stirring occasionally, until it comes to a gentle boil.
  7. Turn down heat and whisk continuously for another two minutes until the agar is completely dissolved.
  8. Take a spatula and scoop out approximately 1/4 of the tofu mixture into the agar mixture. Whisk well.
  9. Heat mixture for another 30 seconds, whisking continuously, then add another scoop of tofu mixture to the pot as before.
  10. Remove agar-tofu mixture from the heat. Start running food processor.
  11. Slowly transfer the warmed mixture into the running food processor.
  12. Process for another two minutes, until smooth and slightly cooled.
  13. Place the mixture into the refrigerator for 20-40 minutes (I just place the bowl of the food processor straight into the fridge).
  14. Once the mixture has solidified, return to the machine and process for 30-60 seconds until smooth.
  15. Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to ten days.

High-Protein Granola – An original recipe by Agent Minty

Ingredients:

  • 1 2/3 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 3 Tbsp raw pumpkin seeds
  • 2.5 Tbsp fine, unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 6.5 Tbsp sunflower seeds
  • 3/4 cup raw cashews, broken into smaller pieces
  • 1/4 roughly chopped raw almonds
  • 2/3 cup rolled soya flakes
  • 3 Tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup (If not vegan, can substitute half volume for creamed honey)
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 300F.
  2. Combine oats, soya, coconut, seeds, and nuts in a large bowl.
  3. Combine coconut oil, maple syrup, spices, and salt in a microwave-safe bowl.
  4. Microwave oil mixture on medium power for 30-60 seconds, until it is runny.
  5. Stir liquid mixture briefly, then pour over dry oat mixture.
  6. Mix with a wooden spoon until all dry ingredients are lightly coated.
  7. Spread on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  8. Cook for 10-15 minutes, until mixture is fragrant and nuts/seeds are lightly toasted.
  9. Cool for an hour before breaking granola into small clumps.
  10. Store in a sealed container at room temperature.

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 Nutritional Comparison

My No-gurt:

125 mL (1/4 of recipe) has:

  • 120 calories, 7g total fat, 1 g saturated fat, 6 g carbs, 4 g sugar, 7 g protein, 13% RDA Calcium, 10% RDA Iron

A popular brand of coconut yogurt (using full-fat coconut cream):

125 mL (calculated from 175 mL serving on label) has:

  • 100 calories, 3.6 g total fat, 3.2 g saturated fat, 16.4 g carbs, 5 g sugar, 1.4 g protein, 25% RDA Calcium, 4.2% RDA Iron

A popular brand of almond yogurt:

125 mL (calculated from 175 mL serving on label) has:

  • 71 calories, 4.3 g total fat, 0.4 g saturated fat, 9.3 g carbs, 5 g sugar, 2.1 g protein, 28.6% RDA Calcium, 2.8% RDA Iron

A popular brand of cultured soy product:

125 mL (calculated from 170 mL serving on label) has:

  • 107 calories, 2.1 g total fat, 0 g saturated fat, 17.9 g carbs, 10.7 g sugar, 3.57 g protein, 10.7% RDA Calcium, 1.1% RDA Iron

Yes, mine has more calories and more fat than the others, but it tastes awesome… and the protein is great if (like me) you’re trying to put on muscle in the gym!

Gloriously Orange Muffins

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In case you haven’t noticed, I like making muffins. They were always in our home growing up: usually Mom would make a few dozen on a weekend and freeze them, and I would have them for breakfast before school. My mornings were populated by a parade of flavourful, interesting baked goods that were a much better than cereal: blueberry sunflower, orange bran, banana chocolate chip, apple cheddar, cherry pie, morning glory.

What a beautiful name for a muffin. My maternal grandparents had blue morning glories growing on an arch in their front garden, so every time I would eat one, I would think of the pleasant times I had spent at my grandparents’ house.

My family’s traditional morning glory muffin recipe contains crushed pineapple, but I am now allergic to pineapple. I’ve found a good sub in canned mandarine oranges. I have made several more changes to the recipe to reduce oil and sugar, but still kept it delicious. Because of the oranges and pumpkin, they’re a pretty shade of orange. Think of them as little suns to light up your mornings!

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Gloriously Orange Muffins

An original recipe by Agent Minty

Makes 12 large muffins.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups white flour
  • 2 Tbsp white sugar
  • 2 Tbsp packed brown sugar
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • pinch salt
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 240-280 mL can of mandarin orange segments, drained and roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped dates
  • 1/2 cup canned pureed pumpkin
  • 1 cup grated carrot
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 3 Tbsp water
  • 1 Tbsp ground flax
  • 1/2 cup non-dairy milk
  • 1 tsp baking powder

Instructions: 

  1. Preheat over to 350F. Grease your muffin tin.
  2. Combine flour, sugars, baking soda, salt, and spices. Whisk to break up clumps.
  3. Combine dates, carrot, and pureed pumpkin.
  4. Allow to sit to rehydrate dates while carrots are grated.
  5. Add carrots, nuts, oil, water, flax, and milk to date mixture. Stir well.
  6. Add baking powder, stir quickly to combine, than add wet mixture to flour mix.
  7. Using a spatula, fold together until no dry pockets are left, but do not overmix.
  8. Divide between 12 well of muffin tin.
  9. Bake for 20-22 minutes, until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  10. Cool on a wire rack.

Nutrition Facts: Per Muffin: 172 Kcal, 4g fat, 15g sugars, 2g fibre, 3g protein, 54% RDA Vit. A.

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Messy Kitchen!

I’ve been a busy person lately. In the kitchen, too, making some recipes to share with you, but I haven’t had time to finish all of the photo processing and recipe typing. While I work on other things, here’s a recap of some of the mess I made in my kitchen today:

Noodly!

One of my 2015 resolutions is to try to incorporate more vegetables into every meal. Last week I tried making Serious Eats’ Instant Noodles with Miso-Sesame Broth. They were so good I’m making a jar for every workday this week! My version includes pressed tofu pan-fried in olive oil (as the first layer after the sauce base), fresh mushrooms, zucchini, carrots, snap peas, and udon noodles. I switched to using freeze-dried chives instead of chopped scallions after my office was left with a lingering smell of green onions.

I’m also trying to improve my early-morning preparedness. For three breakfasts this week, I made a big batch of high-protein oatmeal that I’ll keep in the fridge and reheat before eating. For two other meals, I’ll make VegMcMuffins – I’ve already prepped the tofu and “meat”, all I’ll need to do is toast an English muffin and add slices of pepper and tomato.

Dirty Kitchen (2 of 2)

I made a batch of cookies but didn’t take pictures. They were a cashew variation of Nephew Cookies, to give to a neighbour. It was like he was psychic – as I was convincing myself to bundle up and drop them off, he same over with some Vegan chili he had made for us. Awesome!

Finally, I made a big pot of minestrone, like we do every month. This will last in leftovers for a few dinners this week, or be frozen as extra lunches for days when we don’t have time to make anything fresh but want something healthy and delicious.

Dirty Kitchen (1 of 2)

A few hours of work made me food for at least twelve meals plus more to share, with lots of healthy ingredients and flavour. Yum!

Scrambled tofu that actually tastes good!

Scrambled tofu is one of those supposedly basic things that a lot of egg-haters eat. I had been trying for years to make it palatable, but the problem was that I often found them runny and bland. I even tried blending tofu with cornstarch and a zillion seasonings and cooking it to firm up into a (gross) omelette. Sometimes it’s better to just keep it simple. This isn’t so much of a recipe, as me sharing my “oh, duh! realization from a few months back that I finally remembered to photograph.

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It’s a protein-packed breakfast to have along with veggie sausage and fruit, or toast and jam. The veggies in the stir fry can vary, but I really recommend adding something. Vegetables add colour and flavour, make it even more filling, and the steam they release while cooking keeps the tofu soft on the inside. My favourite combinations are mushroom and spinach, red pepper and asparagus, and green onion and pepper.

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Ingredients:

  • 1/3 to 1/2 block of medium/traditional pressed tofu
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 to 1 cup of chopped veggies
  • Smoked Salt (Very important for flavour!)
  • Nutritional Yeast

Instructions:

  1. Press tofu while chopping vegetables.
  2. Heat about 1 tbsp of oil in a frying pan on medium-high.
  3. Add in chopped vegetables and sauté until their colours start to brighten, about 1 minute.
  4. Crumble in tofu, and sprinkle tofu immediately with smoked salt and a pinch of nutritional yeast.
  5. Stir everything together.
  6. If desired, add a little more oil.
  7. Cook, stirring, until tofu is golden.
  8. Eat immediately!

Goldilocks oatmeal muffins

Making the perfect oatmeal muffin has been quite a challenge for me.

Stack of oatmeal muffins

I want it to have a little texture, but not be too coarse. I tried several variations on my original recipe, each one being disappointing for different reasons: Too sweet, too dense, or too rough. I felt like Goldilocks raiding the bears’ muffin stash!

Muffin on a plate with jam

Finally I’ve struck my ideal: fluffy, oaty, and not-too-sweet. Perfect with jam for dessert or with peanut butter for a snack at work. Pulsing the oats in the blender at the beginning gives these muffins a finer texture without sacrificing fibre or oat flavour.

Milled oats

These are also relatively high in protein, but aren’t too calorie-dense. For those of you who are into that sort of thing, one muffin has approximately 140 calories, 6g fat, 4g protein, and 5g sugar. Compare that to a Nature Valley trail mix bar, which has 140 calories, 4g fat, 2g protein, and 12g sugar. But enough about nutrition, as I don’t purport to be a healthy living blog, just a blog with delicious, wannabe-vegan recipes.

Muffins and apple on lunch sack

A few more technical notes about these muffins:

1. Even with the nutritional info listed above, these are lower fat than traditional muffins. I have found that muffin recipes with less than 1/4 c fat will stick to paper liners once they have cooled, so I would recommend just spraying your tin and pouring in the batter directly.

2. These muffins do have a coconut aroma, which is how I can get away with so little sugar. I know at least one person who hates coconut (hi Lia!), and have subbed out coconut oil for canola or olive oil in other recipes with a fair amount of success. Since canola doesn’t have the same melting point as coconut oil, I would recommend 1 Tbsp of melted margarine of butter and 2 Tbsp of liquid oil. If you do this you may wish to up the white sugar content by 1-2 Tbsp.

muffin batter in tins

3. You really do want to stir these muffins more than most recipes. The oatmeal needs to hydrate before baking, and if you stir just until mixed/slightly lumpy like with traditional muffins, you will get very uneven batter and resultantly clumpy muffins.

 

OK, long spiel aside, here we go:

 

Goldilocks oatmeal muffins – An Agent Minty original recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup rolled oats (not instant), pulsed in the food processor until fine
  • 3/4 cup white flour
  • 2 Tbsp brown rice protein powder (if you don’t have protein powder, use more almond meal)
  • 2 Tbsp almond meal
  • 1 Tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp white sugar
  • 2 Tbsp packed brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 cup almond milk or other milk of your choice
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 Tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract

Instructions:

  1. Pulse oats in a blender.
  2. Add all other dry ingredients and mix well.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine lemon juice and milk, stirring until the milk curdles.
  4. Microwave for about 30 seconds so that the milk mixture is not very cold. Otherwise the coconut oil will harden when added.
  5. Add remaining liquids, stirring briefly.
  6. Pour liquid mix onto the dry ingredients.
  7. Stir gently but thoroughly until no dry lumps remain and the batter is smooth.
  8. Sit at room temperature for 10-20 minutes. Meanwhile, heat oven to 400F.
  9. Divide batter between greased muffin tins.
  10. Bake in centre of oven, rotating once, for 18 minutes. If you prefer muffins that are crispy on the outside, bake for 20 minutes.

Sorta-healthy blueberry muffins

Mrs. Minty summed up the current feeling perfectly a few days ago: “I am sick of treats.” While the homemade candy and cookies we have been eating all December were delicious, the feeling around here is that it’s time to get back to real food. I wanted to make something with a little fibre and nutrition in them, but still sweet enough to satisfy my over-stimulated sweet tooth.

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Blueberry muffins. Nothing too fancy, and almost everybody loves them.

Perfect for breakfast, or smeared with peanut butter as an afternoon snack. Light enough to feel like an easy start for anyone who has resolved to eat healthier in 2013.

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Sorta-healthy blueberry muffins – by Agent Minty, very loosely based on the Reduced-Fat muffins in Joy of Cooking

Makes 12 medium muffins

Pro tip: when making low-fat muffins, don’t use paper liners or the cooled muffins will stick to the liners and break apart when you try to unwrap them. Just bake them straight in the (well-sprayed) pan.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour of your choice
  • 6 Tbsp white sugar
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3 Tbsp ground flax
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 egg replacer whisked well into 1/4 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp melted margarine
  • 1 Tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp almond milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 cup frozen blueberries (I like wild blueberries as they are smaller and distribute more evenly)
  • Cinnamon-sugar mix (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F
  2. Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, flax, and salt.
  3. Whisk up egg replacer and set aside.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine melted fats with a little bit of milk, stir, and add remaining milk.
  5. Add egg replacer mixture and vanilla to milk-oil mixture.
  6. Pour liquids into dry ingredients and stir with a spatula a few times until the mixture is moist but still very lumpy.
  7. Add blueberries and stir until evenly distributed. The dough will still be somewhat lumpy.
  8. Drop into greased muffin tins.
  9. If desired, lightly sprinkle tops of muffins with cinnamon sugar.
  10. Bake in centre of oven for 25-30 minutes, until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

 

Happy new year, everyone! I hope you’re working towards whatever positive changes you want to make in your life!