Friday, September 12, 2008

Its been a while

I never expected to be in the position I am in now, but I have to say it's working for me. Life has its share of ups and downs, and while I imagined the worst, things are actually going really well.

My junior foodie has started day care and she absolutely loves it. I really had hoped to be in business by now, but leaving my home and an almost 8 year relationship and having to put all of my worldly possessions, including all of my cookware and cookbooks, in storage and only taking with me my pantry essentials has made it challenging to get things off the ground. But I will make this happen once I am more settled and I am confident everything will work out. It's been tough to blog since the only time I get on the computer is at work - and I'm usually too busy to consider things of a personal nature. So until I have more spare time, my blogging will be on will my new business. I'm looking forward to the positive changes that this shift will incur.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Habemus Frostingus!!

I totally went on a limb and decided to go freehand with the frosting. It worked on the first try! I should stop doubting myself. When it comes to knowing my ingredients I'm pretty good at understanding what will work. I had my doubts about the tofu, and rightfully so.
Fab picked me up at the ferry terminal after work and was kind enough to drive me to Whole Foods to pick up some ingredients for both my frosting and a new batch of brown rice treats.
I checked my labels carefully this time. Absolutely no dairy or refined sugars in the brown rice cereal. More peanut butter, brown rice syrup, raw cane sugar and some other stuff.
Got home...made some yummy creamy coconut curried tofu with garbanzo beans for dinner. The troups scarfed down the vittles and I got to work - my trusty junior foodie watching my every move.
Shira was fascinated by each and every step. She watched as I measured out my ingredients into the mixer. Dutch cocoa powder, agave nectar, my secret magical ingredient and some soy milk to thin it out and give it a nice rich creaminess. I turned the mixer on gingerly to ensure we didn't get a cocoa storm and then slowly turned up the power on my trusty Kitchen Aid...Gosh - I love that thing...20 years old and going strong! (Poo, Poo, Poo...)
Shira and I watched, mesmerised, hoping for a good result.
I scraped down the bowl a few times and could see Shira getting antsy. Heck, I was pretty antsy too. I wanted to taste see if I'd succeeded. She was standing on a stepstool right near the table.
The aroma was definitely on point. It was slightly sweet and deep with chocolate and I had a good feeling about this one. I stopped the mixer and scooped up some of the fluffy cream with my spatula. It looked perfect. I had to feel and taste it...not greasy, not too sweet, very smooth and silky on my tongue and filled with true dark chocolate flavor. This was brown gold! I had to slip some to Fab to get her approval, of course. She's my toughest critic (aside from myself). Hurray! She loved it! I spread the frosting on the cupcakes.
Shira had been fussing by this point. I knew what she wanted...I handed her a perfectly frosted cupcake and she went to town, licking the frosting and biting into the cake. This was a first for her...and I didn't feel that bad about letting her indulge. No refined sugar or grains, no eggs, no dairy, no chemicals, no pesticides, just yummy wholesome goodness in every bite.
She did need a bath off to the showers we went. And then she went right to bed with a sweet little smile lingering on her angelic lips.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Successes and Messes

Hello there friends of the blogiverse! So, true to my word, I decided to test some of the recipes I discussed in yesterday's post.

Here's how it went.

New twist on rice-krispy treats? THUMBS UP! They are delish. I was a bit disappointed to discover that the organic brown rice cereal that I had gotten from Whole Foods was described as lightly sweetened - not to mention the fact that I was striving for a completely vegan and gluten free product, and the box was marked Kosher / DAIRY! But there wasn't a single dairy ingredient. I guess they just have to list it as such when the product is made in a factory where other dairy products are manufactured and the equipment is not thoroughly purified or "koshered" in between batches. I was hoping to have a more wholesome product. But the end result is definitely not as cloyingly sweet as the original. It is, however, every bit as delightfully crispy and chewy and satisfying. Now, mind you...this is not your grandma's rice-krispy treat with marshmallows and butter and rice krispies...oh no! This was made of brown rice cereal, brown rice syrup, raw cane sugar, natural creamy peanut butter and lots of love. Oh - and, of course, a prayer or two and some crossed fingers. It was also topped with some vegan chocolate chips that were melted with a drop of canola oil.

So while the final product is absolutely spot on I will have to look for an alternative cereal product and try again in order to market the product as vegan.

Shira, my sweet little princess who sat and watched me very patiently as I coated the cereal mix with melted chocolate, really deserved to lick that spoon. So I handed her the chocolate scepter and waited to see how much of it would make it into her mouth. After a chocolate body-painting experience I hope never to forget we both headed to the shower.

Next, power bars. Let me tell you what warmed melted coconut oil smells like. Imagine, if you will, a balmy tropical breeze on some far away island and the sun warming that breeze further until it fills your nostrils with a fragrant toastiness. That's what it smelled like in my kitchen as I warmed the oil slightly just to melt it. I then combined it with some roasted almond butter, unsweetened coconut, pepitas, sunflower seeds, sliced almonds, almond meal, flax seed meal, dried cranberries and some natural sweeteners and put them to bed in the refrigerator to firm up a bit. I can't wait to see how they turn out. I couldn't resist tasting a bit of the mixture before dishing it into the pan and OH MY GOODNESS that was tasty! I know I would probably be making the power bars completely sinful by topping them with chocolate, so I am now toying with the idea of coating them in carob. Then again, dark chocolate is not all that bad for you. It's got those super antioxidants...doesn't it? Well then...power to the chocolate!

Finally, the vegan cupcakes with tofu frosting. Ahhh - the cupcakes turned out a lot better than expected. They were made with soy milk, soy nut butter, whole wheat flour, flax seed meal, raw can sugar, agave syrup, and a bit of canola oil, and some standard leavening products. They were baked to golden perfection and were light and moist and had a nice crunchy top...just the way I love 'em. But the frosting...OY. What a bowl of slop. I was truly hoping for something unctuous and fruity, but it ended up being just plain gross. I started with what I had hoped to be a delicious was marketed as a high antioxidant product...made of pomegranate, acai, morello cherries and red grapes. It tasted like cough medicine. I guess I was hoping the medicinal taste would go away after boiling it down to thicken it and add it to the silken tofu base - but no such luck. So I am off to my thinking chair to entertain new ideas for something that will be more pleasing to the palate.

Oh a few, lose a few.

All in the day of the experimental baker.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Testing, testing...1-2-3!

I just went to pick up a bunch of ingredients with which I've never worked before. Time to test some more natural and healthful recipes for old snack faves and I'm really excited. I am going to work on an organic, gluten free, refined sugar free, vegan power bar. An old time favorite, rice-krispy treats, will be made healthier and vegan with organic whole grains and nuts and unrefined sugars. And, finally, organic vegan cupcakes with tofu frosting. Can anyone say yummy? I sure hope so. If these recipes work out well I will be attempting to market them...and hopefully I will be saying cha-ching!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, August 1, 2008

I just have to say that I am so blessed to have a daughter who absolutely LOVES good food. At only 16 months of age she loves spicy food...especially Fabi's chili...and she will try practically anything that's placed on her spoon or fork.

The photo was taken on her first birthday. I made her whole wheat spaghetti and meatballs with a homemade tomato sauce...and she just kept wanting more!

Ahhh - my sweet junior foodie-in-training.
And here's a picture of her first birthday cake...which I made as well!

A new experience

Hi Friends,
So this is my virgin voyage into blogitude. Wow.
Thanks for the opportunity to let me share stuff I know and stuff I don't and just stuff in general : )
Hopefully you will comment and let me know how I'm doing...share ideas...whatev.
Welcome to my saucy blog.