Tag Archives: cinnamon

Caramel Baked Apple(s)

The recipe was for Caramel Baked Apples plural, but I just made one. Not very economical, but kind of cute nonetheless.

My family was having baked apple pancakes for a special breakfast – delicious, I’m sure, but also full of gluten (which I don’t really eat anymore)! I’m not one to be left out of a party though – especially when that party involves food – so I had to find a suitable replacement: apple-based, but totally decadent. I immediately remembered the recipe for Caramel Baked Apples from Celine and Joni’s new book, The Complete Guide to Vegan Food Substitutions, and I knew that’s where my breakfast destiny lay.

You can’t really go wrong with a recipe described as, “Lots and lots of caramel to cover something healthy, therefore making it, well, not so healthy anymore.” Plus, making your own caramel from scratch makes you feel like a total culinary badass. And being vegan is awesome. So making homemade vegan caramel is just like…wow, too cool for school.

Caramel whipped up, I filled my Granny Smith with the called-for Sucanat/almond/cinnamon/raisin mixture, popped it in the oven, and was greeted 50 minutes later with a natural package of caramel-y bliss.

I don’t think this is the kind of apple a day that keeps the doctor away.

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Enjedra

Enjedra is a variation of mujaddara, a  popular Middle Eastern dish. While there may be subtle differences among various cuisines (it’s also known as moujadara, mejadra, mudardara, megadarra, Μουκ̌έντρα, müceddere, مجدرة‎, or מג’דרה, depending on where you are), but, as far as I can tell, they all boil down to the same thing: spiced rice and lentils with caramelized onions. Okay, I’ve got your attention now. Unless you left after the foreign language tutorial, that is.

While the classic mujaddara consists of whole lentils and brown rice tossed together, I’ve always made the lentils separately, as a sort of stew that’s served over brown rice. I usually pair my enjedra with steamed kale or spinach, so I like having a saucier lentil component with which I can drench the greens.

The great thing about this dish (besides the fact that it’s so forking delicious) is that you probably already have all the ingredients in your pantry. Lentils, onions, rice, olive oil, a few spices. If you call yourself a vegan and don’t have these ingredients on hand at all times, then you have bigger problems to worry about, and you should probably go deal with them. Just kidding! I’m not that mean.

The sweetness of the caramelized onions and cinnamon pair beautifully with the earthy lentils and cumin, creating a melt-in-your-mouth savory stew that will draw crowds–or in the case of my house, family members armed with spoons eating it cold out of the fridge.

Enjedra
(Adapted from VegWeb)
Serves 4

2 medium-large sweet onions
1-2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons cumin
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
2 teaspoons salt (or to taste)
1 cup brown rice
1 cup red lentils
2 cups water (you may need to add more as lentils cook)

Get your brown rice started (however you normally cook it). For newbies, add 1 cup of rice to 2 cups water.  Bring to boil.  Lower heat, cover and simmer 45 minutes.

Slice the onions. You can dice them if you want, but I like to have long caramelized pieces.

Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan on medium-high, toss onions into the  pan with cumin, cinnamon, allspice, and salt (I know it seems like a lot of salt–and it is when it’s just onions–but remember that you’re seasoning for the entire pot of lentils!)

Sauté in olive oil until caramelized-ish, about 10-15 minutes.

Add lentils and water to the onion mixture.  Bring to boil.  Lower heat and simmer, stirring occasionally until lentils are cooked through, and you have yourself a big, smooshy pot of fragrant deliciousness. When stirred towards the end, the lentils should be fairly smooth.

If serving with greens, steam them now.

Top your rice with greens, and then pile on the lentils! Last but not least, come back here to thank me.

Sometimes, I double the batch because it’s so easy, and you’ll definitely want more when you’re finished. But don’t take my word for it! Go raid your pantry and amaze your loved ones.

My First Buns out of the Oven!

No, I didn’t have twins! Rather, I made my first from-scratch cinnamon rolls!

And I must say, though they weren’t the best cinnamon rolls I’ve ever had–an idea enforced by my constructively critical cinnabun-queen of a mother–for a first attempt, they were not bad at all! In fact, they came out much better than I expected.

I know, I know. You’re thinking, why is Nora, who is such a good baker, speaking as if cinnamon rolls would be such a challenge (or at least I HOPE you’re all thinking that!) ;)

Well, it was more of the fact that I wasn’t sure how fresh our yeast was and that I used white whole wheat flour instead of the all-purpose flour for which The Joy of Vegan Baking calls, resulting in a pretty tough dough that seemed loathe to rise. I was slaving away over the stand mixer at three in the morning because I couldn’t sleep and I thought it’d be fun to surprise my mom in the morning, since she’d cheekily–and presumptuously–asked me, before going to bed, “what’s for breakfast tomorrow?! My semi-insomniac dad wandered in at about five am and asked me what the hell I was doing with a rolling pin at that hour, and I proceeded to tell him in a discouraged tone that I was trying to make cinnamon rolls, but they were sure to fail. I even asked him if I could just throw the dough away. I’m always emotional about my kitchen failures, but I was so tired at this point that I was seriously on the verge of tears!

After sulkily retreating to bed, I awoke the next morning to a tray of significantly risen doughy rolls. I almost cried again, this time for joy! I popped them in the oven, and felt silly for worrying so much.

These rolls have raisins in the filling, so I thought I’d make an apple cider glaze to go with them instead of a more traditional vanilla one. I followed the recipe in JOVB, but subbed unpasteurized apple juice for the soy milk, and also added some cinnamon, cloves, allspice, nutmeg, and a splash of maple syrup!

They were delicious! A bit dense, but for whole wheat rolls, not too bad! I’d use whole wheat pastry flour next time, although there’s so many good vegan cinnamon roll recipes out there, I’m pretty sure I’ll be trying a few others before I ever come back to this one.

I do know that my next venture into the cinnamon bun world will be in the form of peanut butter or pumpkin ones. Who can say when though? ;)

Rock ‘n’ Roll!

Thanks for all the good luck wishes, everyone! Apparently, they were effective because I ran my half marathon in 1:57:21, a full 13.26 minutes faster than my first one in September. That’s basically a minute less per mile!

It was an awesome experience running a race in my hometown (well it started in Phoenix, but ended in my hometown, Tempe). Fun fact: the P.F. Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll in Phoenix is the largest same day marathon/half marathon in the United States! This year, there were over 30,000 runners!

This race was also special because I was running for Team Tempe to help raise money for local charities. Of course running is highly personal and when it came down to it, I ran for me; but it was nice to help others in the process!

I’m really proud of my time since I was only able to train intensively for two and a half weeks. Out of the 1,144 in my division (F 18-24), I came in 154th!

I loved running the Disney one with my good friend, Chelsea, but it was also really nice having my parents there to greet me at the end (my dad took the photo).

Wonder what the perfect post-race vegan meal is?

Oats in a jar, of course! Well banana-vanilla-cinnamon-date oat bran in a PB jar to be exact. Normally, I can’t eat this much, but I was really hungry for obvious reasons. :) This baby really hit the spot.

Hot, gooey, lovely mess. Taken with my new Canon 60mm macro lens!

Is running 13.1 miles really that hard when you have this breakfast waiting for you at home?

Kabocha Is Taking Over My Life

…And that’s totally okay by me.

If you made the Kabocha Soup from my last post, you probably have half a squash or so left over. Or maybe you don’t–but don’t let that deter you from making the dish I’m about to describe!

Maple-Cinnamon Squash Ringlets
(Scaled down from the Candle Café Cookbook recipe)

1/2 kabocha squash
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch crushed pepper
Pinch sea salt

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

With a sharp paring or vegetable knife, carefully cut the squash into 1-inch circles, then halve into semi-circles Lay them side by side on baking sheet. Whisk the olive oil, maple syrup, cinnamon, pepper and salt together in a small bowl. Brush the oil over the squash rings and bake for 20-25 minutes, until the squash is just tender.

I served my squash ringlets with…no, that’s not hummus! (Though I do love to eat roasted squash with hummus…) It’s Swell Vegan’s Vanilla Lemon Pine Nut Cream! I don’t know what made me think of this luscious raw cream as an accompaniment to my squash, but I’m glad I did! Together, they made for a perfect treat. The only change I might make is to slightly lessen the amount of agave in the pine nut cream because I found it a tad sweet. It’s really lovely though – even made with vanilla extract instead of fresh beans, and omitting the acidophilus. (Because, really, who has acidophilus in their pantry?)

It really does look like hummus though, doesn’t it?! I swear I’m not tricking you.

Three Completely Random Eats

So, I know I went a little crazy in the kitchen for Thanksgiving, but my foodie exploits didn’t stop there. You see, I miss cooking and baking so much when I’m at school, that when I finally have a well-stocked kitchen and the entirety of my cookbook library at my disposal every break, I literally can’t stop! It’s my favorite de-stresser, and that’s what breaks are for, no?

As I was sitting in front of my laptop at the kitchen table the Saturday after Thanksgiving, struggling to find a new way to procrastinate on my thesis, a solitary squash on the counter caught my eye. My mom had accidentally purchased an extra butternut squash for T-day, and I had a feeling that if I didn’t take charge, that plump little guy would just languish there until my parents got sick of looking at it and threw it away. Sorry, mom–I know you can roast a squash, but I could just tell that, post-holiday chaos, it wasn’t going to happen.

500 Vegan Recipes to the rescue! I’d just ordered Celine and Joni’s newest book a few weeks before, and had brought it home with me, itching to try it. The butternut’s fate was decided: Curried Butternut Squash Hummus.

Oh my curried God! This hummus was amazing. But what else would you expect when you blend an entire roasted butternut squash with chickpeas, a tablespoon of curry powder, and other yummy things? The sweet & savory combo at its finest! Great texture too–I’m a thick, chunky hummus fan (except for when I’m not, and I want smooth, creamy hummus, but whatever).

I also made another tester recipe for Celine & Joni’s new book, Vegan Substitutions. The ridiculously simple, but according to my mom for whom I made it, equally delicious, Cinnamon French Toast.

Can’t give away the recipe since it’s a tester, but I think it speaks for itself.

Finally, I made the Peanut Apple Pretzel Drops from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar for our dear friends, the Hillebrands. I think these are so adorable.

According to someoneee in my family, they’d be better with chocolate, but I disagree. Chocolate and apples? I donno. I mean, I’m sure it’d still be good, but I like them the way they are. Yes, chocolate is possibly the best thing ever in any dessert, but does that mean it should be in every dessert? I don’t think so. Sometimes, we need to let other ingredients shine. :) I’m not a sweetist!

BAM.

Baked sweet potato + a mother load of coconut butter + cinnamon + sea salt =
Why, yes please.

I have recently discovered coconut butter, which, as you can see, is NOT just solidified coconut oil. Oh, no. Coconut butter is what you get when you blend coconut oil and flesh together. And let me just tell you, it’s absolutely dreamy–smooth, rich, and naturally sweet, it is definitely second only to peanut butter in the nut/seed butter family. Plus, I feel like coconut butter and sweet potatoes were created only to be eaten with one another.

The brand I bought is Artisana, and it’s raw, organic, 100% coconut! Yes, it’s a little expensive, but I never have any qualms about shelling out money for high-quality, delicious foods that fuel my body! Plus, the great thing about coconut butter is that you get all the health benefits of coconut oil, plus fiber (5 g/serving!) and essential amino acids. If you haven’t tried coconut butter, please don’t wait any longer. Artisana also makes a slightly sweetened chocolate coconut butter, Cacao Bliss, which I love, but I think the unadulterated one might be my favorite.