Thursday, September 17, 2009

Apple Dumplings

Apple Dumplings

1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg
1 package (15 ounces) refrigerated pie crusts
4 apples peeled, cored and halved
8 teaspoons butter, divided
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 cup water
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon Vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 500°F. Mix cinnamon and nutmeg in small bowl. (I rather choose to combine the spices and use apple pie spice and cloves and ginger to make it taste more like a real apple pie) Prepare crusts as directed on package. Sprinkle spice mixture evenly on surface of each crust. Cut each crust into 4 equal pieces. Place 1 apple half in center of each piece of crust. Fill center of each apple half with 1 teaspoon of the butter. Carefully fold crust up over apple half, pinching seams together to seal. Place dumplings, seam-side down, in greased 13x9-inch baking dish.

2. Bring sugar, water and 2 tablespoons butter to boil in small saucepan. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla; set aside.

3. Bake dumplings about 10 minutes or until crust begins to brown. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F. Pour sauce over dumplings. Bake 40 to 45 minutes longer or until apples are tender and pastry is golden brown. Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream, if desired.

Vegan Gelatin

agar = agar-agar = agar agar = dai choy goh = kanten = Japanese gelatin = Japanese isinglass = Chinese gelatin = Chinese isinglass = vegetable gelatin = angel's hair

Pronunciation: AH-gur

Equivalents: Each of these amounts will firm two cups of liquid: 3 tablespoons agar flakes = 2 teaspoons agar powder = 1 kanten bar

Notes: Since gelatin is made from animal tissue, many vegetarians rely upon this seaweed derivative as a substitute. Like ordinary gelatin, agar is flavorless and becomes gelatinous when it's dissolved in water, heated, and then cooled. Agar, though, gels more firmly than gelatin, and it sets and melts at a higher temperature--it can even set at room temperature. Agar, like gelatin, is full of protein (though incomplete), but it also contains the rich array of minerals one would expect from seaweed. To use agar, just soak it in the liquid for about 15 minutes, bring it to a gentle boil, then simmer while stirring until it's completely dissolved. The liquid will gel as it cools. Acids weakens agar's gelling power, so if you're firming an acidic liquid, use more. Like gelatin, agar will break down if exposed to the enzymes of certain raw fruits, like kiwi fruit, papayas, pineapple, peaches, mangos, guavas, and figs. Cooking these fruits, though, destroys the enzymes. If you plan to add any of these fruits to a gelatin salad, it's a good idea to buy them in cans, since all canned fruit is pre-cooked. Agar comes in flakes, powder, or bars.

Substitutes: gelatin (Substitute one tablespoon powdered gelatin for every tablespoon of powdered agar. Gelatin is made from animal by-products.)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Crock pot meal on a busy Monday....

Crockpot Mediterranean Stew

1 eggplant -- chopped
2 zucchini -- chopped
1 red or green bell pepper, seeded/chopped
1 onion -- chopped
3 large tomatoes -- chopped
2 cans garbanzo beans -- (14 oz.) drained/rinsed
1 Tbs oregano
Freshly ground black pepper
1 can artichoke hearts packed in water -- (14 oz.) drained/quartered
1 package egg noodles -- cooked
Crushed red pepper flakes -- to taste/opt

Add all ingredients except for noodles to the crock pot and stir well. (Sometimes I also add a Tbs of tomato paste for a thicker stew.) Cook on low for 8 hours. Serve over the cooked noodles. 4 Servings.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


I just made inside out chicken pie and realized it was time to make more chicken seasoning. I don't think I've posted this here, so here you go. I use it in everything. Mashed potatoes, breading for frying, gravies, sauces, the lemon herb sauce for the manicotti gets this. I use it ALL. THE. TIME. I also tweak it, of course, with extra garlic, celery flakes, etc. Got it from my friend Mindy -- enjoy! :)

Chick-it Seasoning:


1/4 c. Salt
1/2 c. Nutritional yeast flakes
1/4 to 1/2 t. Turmeric
1/2 to 1 t. garlic powder
1 T. onion powder
1/2 t. Marjoram
1/2 t. sage or summer savory
1 T. Parsley

Blend thoroughly to a powder-like consistency.
Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

How to substitute agave for sugar

How to Substitute Agave Nectar for Sugar

Many people want to avoid sugar for personal reasons and so they turn to more natural sources which have not been as refined. Honey and agave nectar are two popular sweeteners which can be used instead of sugar, but honey is made through beekeeping, and some vegans want to avoid it. Other people simply do not like the flavor. Agave nectar is the answer, it has a light flavor which will not overpower other flavors in a dish. This means that you can successfully substitute it in your cooking for honey or sugar. Since it is a liquid, you cannot do an even switch for sugar, refer to the information below for how to have success in all of your recipes which substitute agave nectar for sugar.

1. Examine your recipe to make a note of all of the white and brown sugar and the liquid (milk, water, juice) you need. Also find the temperature the dish will be baked at in the oven.
2. Preheat the oven to 25 degrees F below the temperature named in the recipe. Agave nectar browns faster than sugar. Without lowering the temperature, the food will brown too quickly and be dark on the outside and undercooked inside.
3. Add the total amount of added sugars needed for your recipe and multiply it by 2/3. For example, if your recipe requires 1/2 cup of white sugar and 1/2 cup of brown sugar add these together to get 1 cup total sugar. Multiply this by 2/3 to get the replacement amount of 2/3 cup agave nectar. For every 1 cup sugar in a recipe, you will use 2/3 cup agave.
4. Reduce the total amount of liquids in your recipe by 2 tbsp. for each 1 cup of sugar you replace with 2/3 cup agave nectar. This means that if your recipe only has 1/2 cup sugar, you will replace that with 1/3 cup agave and put in 1 tbsp. less of liquid.
5. Bake your dish in the oven, but increase the cooking time by 6 percent at 25 degrees F lower than required in the recipe. For example, if your recipe says to bake a cake for 60 minutes at 350 degrees F, you will bake it at 325 degrees F for 64 minutes.

My Best Zucchini Bread

This is by far the best I've ever had. It came out light and moist and deliciously flavorful! Deb, I'm sending one with you on the ATL trip. This one's a definite keeper!

My Best Zucchini Bread

2 cups sugar **See note**
1 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla - might be 3 tsp. LittleOne was helping me make this and she might have spilled a little extra into the bowl :)
2 cups shredded zucchini
1/2 cup diced apples ** see note**
1/2 cup applesauce
1/3 cup orange juice
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350*. In large bowl, mix sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Beat until well blended. Add zucchini, apples, applesauce and orange juice; stir well. Combine flour with next 5 ingredients. Add to zucchini mixture; stir well. Add nuts; stir gently to combine. Pour into 2 greased and floured 9in loaf pans. Bake for 60-70 mins; till toothpick comes out clean. Let cool in pans 10 minutes. Remove from pans and let cool completely.

** Sugar Note**
Substitute agave for sugar

**Apple Note**
(I used one of the little lunch pack fruit cup diced apples, drained. They're already soft and after the first run thru with this recipe, I was looking to make it a little lighter and more moist. The first try came out heavy. Well-flavored, but heavy and dense. These apples just happened to already be in my pantry for school lunches, so I grabbed one and it was PERFECT. The only pic I could find was the diced pears, which would be a yummy substitution for sure!)

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