Thursday, June 30, 2011

Blueberry-Banana pancakes

One upside of being home from vacation is being able to cook and blog again! Although I love going on vacation and spending time with my family, I'm happy to be back home and cooking up a storm once again.

This morning I opened up the fridge to find enormous containers of blueberries, strawberries, watermelon, and mangoes...oh how I love summer. I tried for a while to come up with a red, white, and blue breakfast to get in the mood for the 4th of July, but I couldn't get my creative juices flowing! When I can't think of anything else, I know I can always fall back on some yummy pancakes! Here's what I came up with: banana and oatmeal pancakes with plump, juicy blueberries tossed in. They're vegan, too! I loved the texture--fluffy yet chewy, with bursts of blueberry throughout. I wish I wasn't so full from eating these, I want more right now!

Blueberry-Banana Pancakes

1 1/4 cups old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup spelt flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups unsweetened almond milk
2 medium bananas, mashed
blueberries, as desired
maple syrup

1. Combine oats, flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.
2. Add the milk and bananas and stir until just combined.
3. Heat a skillet over medium heat and spray with cooking spray.
4. Drop heaping spoonfuls of batter onto the hot skillet and then press blueberries into the batter.
5. When the first side is golden brown and bubbles form on the surface of the batter, flip the pancakes and cook for 1-2 minutes longer, until the pancake is cooked in the middle.
6. Garnish with blueberries and maple syrup.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Kasha Granola

Kasha has been in my pantry for a while now, but I've never used it or known what exactly to do with it...I just dug it out of the Whole Foods bulk bins because it looked cool, which I think was a very good reason. Little did I know that Kasha is super high in protein, is closer to being a complete protein than even soybeans, and is naturally high in iron!

I've heard of people eating it raw, but I always figured that it would be like eating raw rice and would probably break your teeth or something. But one day, I went for it--I popped a few grains in my mouth and they were surprisingle crispy, not hard or tooth-breaking! How fun! So, now I've comeup with a granola-like cereal featuring this uniquely crispy grain (plus some quinoa just for the heck of it), and I think it's fabulous. It's pretty different from regular granola--it's crispier and not clustery, but it adds great crunch to a bowl of yogurt and fruit. Give it a try!

Kasha and Quinoa Granola

1/2 cup raw kasha (aka buckweat groats)
1/4 cup raw quinoa
1/4 cup old-fashioned oats
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon almond butter
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of salt

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F, and line a baking sheet with a silicon mat or parchment paper.
2. Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl, then spread on the baking sheet.
3. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until lightly browned and crispy.

I had my granola with plain greek yogurt and a mango.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

What I've been up to

It's been pretty busy with the school year coming to an end and summer creeping up, here's an update on what I've been doing, cooking, etc. lately:

-planning for cross country next year--summer training!
-getting school work out of the way, just one more week!
-taking the SAT
-raising nearly $3,000 for Share Our Strength with a huge bake sale
-baking for the huge bake sale
-baking numerous vegan chocolate raspberry cakes for graduation parties
-planting basil, thyme, and rosemary
-of course, cooking even more delicious stuff!

One of my favorite summer veggies (grains?) is corn on the cob, especially when it's super juicy and sweet and yummy...mmm I want some right now. Well, corn (along with my new basil plant) inspired me to make this super fresh, summery salad the other day, and now I can't wait until my tomatoes start growing so I can make it again and again this summer.

Summery Corn, Tomato and Spinach Salad with Creamy Basil Dressing
Ingredients (serves 2-3):
2 ripe tomatoes, sliced
2 ears of fresh corn, cooked (steamed, roasted, grilled, boiled, etc.)
3 cups fresh spinach
salt and pepper
creamy basil dressing

1. Layer the tomatoes, corn, and spinach on a plate or toss them in a bowl, then season with salt and pepper.
2. Drizzle on the dressing, then enjoy!

Creamy Basil Dressing

1/4 cup nonfat plain greek yogurt
a handful of fresh basil leaves (I'd guess about 1/4 cup)
2 tablespoons milk or water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
zest of 1/2 a lemon

1. Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor, blend until smooth.

On the way back from picking up my brother from college in Savannah, Georgia, my parents stopped to buy me an enormous box of fresh peaches. It's huge. So, naturally, I had to make peach almond baked oatmeal for breakfast this morning. I was really happy with the texture of this oatmeal, it was creamy and almost doughy, unlike some crumbly baked oatmeals which seem more like cake or something to me. Plus, the crunch of almonds were really great in here!

Peach Almond Baked Oatmeal
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 medium ripe banana, mashed
2-3 peaches (depending on how much you snack on), chopped
2 tablespoons chopped almonds
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
2 tablespoons agave nectar or honey
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed meal

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix.
3. Pour the mixture into a greased casserole dish (smaller than 9x13 in.)
4. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown and puffed