Blog of the Belly Biter:

Some plant-based, some unhealthy, some super healthy but ALL good. Kid tested and mother approved!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Lemon-Poppy Seed Poundcake.

I made this poundcake to take to a couple of friends during Christmas... but only one of the mini loaves actually made it out to them. Why? Anything that happens at my house that is crazy can usually be related back to Coco. While cutely bowed, labeled and wrapped in saran wrap... she got a hold of them with her little fists and squeezed the crud outta them. Sigh. At least I got a picture before all that happened... and the remainder friends that had to settle for some granola got a kick out of it. "That sounds like her!" They'd say. So Shayne and I enjoyed the crumbled loafs. They were awesome, crumpled and all.

But... at the sole house that the lone loaf safely made it to, Matt & Mandy's... I told Matt that it was vegan and he said, "Really? It is? I'm sold, I cold be vegan if I can eat this." Whether he was teasing me or just making me feel good is still to be decided. But, he did eat like half the loaf while I was standing there... that's a good sign.

There are 2 different glazes... Alicia couldn't decide between the 2 to put in her book so she did both. One is "sweet, glossy, and elegant while the other is fruity and colorful."

Lemon-Poppy Seed Poundcake

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup maple sugar
2 teaspoon egg replacer
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup soy, rice or nut milk
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup safflower oil (i used coconut)
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon lemon extract
2 tablespoons poppy seeds

lemon maple glaze
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup lemon juice
2 teaspoons kuzu, diluted in a bit of cold water

berry glaze
1 bag frozen berries, thawed
maple syrup to taste
vanilla to taste

Preheat the oven to 350*F. Oil the pans (you can use 3 mini loaf pans, a muffin tin, or 4 mini bundt pans).

Combine the flours, sugar, egg replacer, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, combine the milk with the lemon juice and set aside for a few minutes; it will look curdled. Whisk in the oil, syrup, and lemon extract. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and stir just until combined. Fold in the poppy seeds.

Pour the batter into the prepared pans, and bake for 15 to 25 minutes (mini loafs and muffins take about 15 to 18 minutes; loaf and bundt pans take 20 to 25 minutes) or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the cake completely in the pans on a baking rack.

If using the lemon maple glaze, combine the syrup and lemon juice in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the diluted kuzu, and continue stirring until the glaze comes to a boil. Simmer for 1 minutes. Drizzle over the cake, and serve.

If using the berry glaze, whiz the berries in a blender with the syrup and vanilla extract to taste. Drizzle over the cake, and serve.

Alicia Silverstone
page 188

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Homemade Crackers.

I've been desperate to try and find a good cracker recipe. Graham crackers I've got figured out... but I need real crackers. Like our favorite Milton crackers that I totally don't like paying $3 a box for. The first time I tried this original recipe it lacked a lot of flavor that we were use to with our favorite crackers... and lacked the crunch. Turns out I didn't roll it out thin enough with my cheapy plastic roller. They were still good, just not stellar. I'm sure I'll resort to buying the quick and convenient box... but glad I found a descent sub.

Next time: I'll add more seasonings and borrow my Mom's marble rolling pin. To be continued...

2 3/4 cups unbleached flour (i used whole wheat)
1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon onion salt
a few shakes of cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 cup cold olive oil
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons ice water
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
sea salt for topping, if desired

Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Cover baking sheets with parchment paper.

Combine all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while stirring. Then, drizzle in the water and apple cider vinegar. Form the dough into a ball. I found it easiest to form it into three balls and work with smaller pieces.

Roll the dough very thin -- under 1/8th of an inch. This is important, because the crackers will puff up substantially even this thinly rolled.

Cut as desired. I used some small cutters. You don't have to do that. You can use your pizza cutter to cut them into squares.

Place them on your baking sheet. 1/2" apart is plenty, as they don't expand.

Bake the crackers 10 to 12 minutes, or until browned. They will get crispier as they cool.

Repeat until all your dough is used. It's much harder to reroll "recycled" dough. It gets very stiff, so use as much of it as you can the first time around.

Adapted from CookAtHome blog who adapted it from ShmooedFood

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Thank You.

I've basically never put anything personal on this blog - other then my add ins to a recipe write up. But I just wanted to THANK YA'LL for getting on here and using this blog. I've slowly heard more and more people find this thing useful and I love it! It makes me feel good that something I've been working so hard on for the past year has become beneficial to a couple of you out there.

I'd love for the plant-based healthy foodstyle to catch on more...and more... because I know you'll find it beneficial to you and your family... not to mention your hips, thighs and bum!

With the new year I'd love to put some new stuff on here. Like tips, how to get started, how my family and I do it and anything else ya'll think would be useful. So, comment on!

Each time I hear another person got a recipe from here... or with each new comment... or with another person asking me what my food blog is - it makes me happy... and inspires me to try more recipes and get more of them up on here! And trust me... I too need healthy eating inspiration!

Thank you! And wish me luck on trying to stay on somewhat of my 90% foodstyle during the holidays!

A little of my history...BellyBiteBeliefs.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Vegan Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding.

I found this on LovesVeggiesAndYoga and it's Ava's favorite dessert to go in her little ziploc lunch container for school. Yeah for all the protein, fiber and little Omega 3's these little seeds have! Hardly a dessert! I usually double or triple this batch.

2 tablespoons chia seeds
1/2 cup nut milk
2 tablespoons agave and/or stevia to taste
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine all the ingredients. Stir all the ingredients together and leave on countertop for 20 minutes. Use a whisk if necessary & it may seem like all that chocolate will never dissolve, but it will. And the results will be so worth it.

Come back to it 20 minutes later and stir again. Either devour now...

...Or pop in the fridge for a few hours. Know that the pudding will continue to thicken for the next 4-6 hours. What I like to do is put it in the freezer after it's thickened in the fridge to create an almost ice-creamy like treat with frozen chocolate chia pudding.

This is after 4 hours in the fridge. Whatever you do with it, it'll be chocolaty & yummy, plus you're getting all the great health benefits of chia seeds like extra Omega 3's, yay for the little chia seeds!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Italian Chili.

This is one of my most favoritest soups... ever. The Rachael Ray original is made with turkey - but here is my vegan version. I loved it... so did the kids... but Shayne swore it was too sweet. Huh. Don't know where that came from.

3-4 cups great northern beans (2 cans)
2 onions, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and grated
6 large cloves garlic, 3 grated & 3 smashed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1 bay leaf
4 jarred roasted red peppers, drained
1 quart (4 cups) vegetable broth
4 to 5 sprigs thyme
2 tablespoons (a couple palmfuls) chili powder
2 teaspoons (2/3 palmful) sweet, smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice (eyeball it)

3 tablespoons earth balance butter
1 loaf crusty bread (about 1 pound), cut into 1-inch squares
3 tablespoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 375°F.

In a big pot over medium-high heat, steam fry onions, carrots, grated garlic and bay leaf until browned, about 8 minutes more. Add beans. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper, then stir in the balsamic vinegar, scraping up the brown bits on the bottom of the pot.

While the veggies are browning, puree the roasted peppers in a food processor. Stir the puree into the pot then add the vegetable broth, thyme sprigs, chili powder, paprika and allspice, and season with salt and pepper. Bring up to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. 

croutons: While the chili is simmering, place a small skillet over medium heat. Add remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, butter and crushed garlic cloves, and cook 2-3 minutes. Place bread in a large bowl. Pour the garlic butter evenly over the bread. Sprinkle with rosemary and lots of pepper over the bread and toss to coat. Place the cubes on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, until golden and crunchy, tossing occasionally. Remove from oven and let cool.

To serve, remove bay leaf and thyme springs from the pot. Ladle chili bowls and top with a handful of the croutons.

Yields: 6 servings {I needed to serve more, so I added 4 more cups of vegetable broth to the above ingredients and it still came out perfect! seasonings and all...}

Tip: To make life easier but get the same yummy rosemary taste with the soup,  I buy the rosemary crusty bread at central market, slice it, toast it, rub with a clove of garlic while hot and use it as a dipper instead of croutons.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Gooey Chewy Caramel Corn.

In attempts to find a healthier treat for Shayne to take to a couple people this Christmas season, I turned to some of the GreenSmoothieGirl holiday recipes I've been wanting to try. This one's not full of the expensive ingredients that I don't want to hand out if I don't think people will really appreciate it... and it's not junk that I'll feel bad giving to people.

I've come to realize that I'm starting to be know for something... and with this 'healthy' label I can't very well hand out complete junk. Right?
When they were all done, I asked Shayne if 'regular people' will think it tastes good - he gave me the thumbs up. Although, he's almost as 'messed' up on the taste buds as I am (especially with being off white sugar for 7 1/2 years now). I omitted the craisins and used sliced almonds to make it a little more mainstream... Now, I just wonder how they liked it because my kids!!

10 cups popped popcorn (about 1 cup kernels)
½ cup honey
½ cup sucanat
½ cup brown rice syrup (i used date syrup)
1 teaspoon molasses
2 teaspoons vanilla
½ cup coconut oil
1 tablespoon salt
½ cup pecans
½ cup dried cranberries

Mix the honey, sucanat, molasses, vanilla, coconut oil, and salt together in a medium sauce pan. Cook on medium heat until it is just about to boil. Take off of the stove and pour over popped popcorn. Fold in the pecans and dried cranberries.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Tomato Bisque.

You are going to loooooooove me for telling you about this soup. I saw Tal Ronnen on Oprah, he's a gourmet vegan chef. He sold me on how yummy his Celery Root Soup with Granny Smith Apples looked. I instantly put myself on the waiting list for his cook book at the library. When it came in months later, I picked it up and almost went right to the grocery store to buy the stuff for half of his recipes. Then I told myself to calm down... which I did... and then I calmed down a little too much because it's taken me 9 months to try any of his recipes. Other then the cashew cream & whipped cashew cream, I haven't tried a single one. Even the celery root one... crazy how that happens. because this soup is amazing. So super simple, but it feels like you're eating a big bowl of naughtiness! Which, I like that feeling. Sure it has some fat in it from the cashew cream... but hey - would you rather be getting your fat from nuts or the cow down the road? I'll choose the nuts.

sea salt
4 tablespoons earth balance
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
3 cloves garlic, smashed
2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour (i used whole wheat)
5 cups vegetable broth
1 (28-ounce) can while fire-roasted tomatoes, juices included
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
leaves from 2 fresh thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups regular cashew cream
parsley for garnish

Place a large stockpot over medium heat. Sprinkle the bottom with a pinch of salt and head for 1 minute. Add the earth balance and stir until melted, being careful not to let it burn. This will create a nonstick effect. Add the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic and cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and continue cooking and stirring for 2 minutes.

Add the stock, tomatoes with juice, parsley, thyme, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, then add the cashew cream. Continue to simmer (do not boil) for 10 minutes.

Remove the bay leaf. Working in batches, pour the soup into a blender, cover the lid with a towel (the hot liquid tends to erupt), and blend on high for several minutes until very smooth. Ladle into bowls and garnish with parsley.

The Conscious Cook
Tal Ronnen
page 94
makes 6 serving
time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

The same night I tried my hand at brussel sprouts. B.O.M.B. You can't win them all. I have never had them - or at least that I remembered. And I hear that you either love them or hate them. And in Veganomicon it said the only way to eat them is roasting them... so I did... and I still reside on the hating side. Funny thing is, Coco ate them. What a weird little girl.