Vegan Coconut Rice Pudding

The trick with most puddings is the milk.  The fats in milk thicken puddings and help them set.  In the case of rice pudding, the rice does that for you!  I am now in the habit of making flavored rice for all my dishes as it adds some flare and taste to the meal.  Coconut rice is made with using coconut milk instead of, or along with, water.  I use Jasmine rice because of its natural taste and quicker cooking time.  Its in between regular rice and instant rice which works perfectly with making the pudding.
Ingredients:
  • 1 cup Jasmine rice
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 cup coconut flakes
  • water*
  • Honey/agave (to taste)
  • Almond Milk*
*I cook this recipe slowly so the measurements for both water and milk vary.
Directions:
  1. Cook Jasmine rice according to instructions on the packet substituting the coconut milk for its equivalent in water (if the recipe requires four cups water and you have a two cup can of milk, add the can and two cups water – adjust according to your recipe).
  2. As you boil your rice it thickens quicker than normal so if needed add boiling water to the mixture until rice is thoroughly cooked.
  3. Reduce heat to medium if recipe does not already require it.
  4. Add two cups almond milk and stir.
  5. Add one cup coconut flakes.
  6. Continue to cook rice adding milk in one cup portions until pudding is the desired consistency (I like mine quite lumpy).
  7. Add honey/agave to taste.
  8. Remove from heat.
  9. Serve cold, sprinkled with cinnamon and raisins.

Vegan Ice Cream

Riding on the tailcoats of my mango sorbet, I stumbled across a recipe for single ingredient ice cream.  Yup, you read that right.  One ingredient can make ice cream.  I didn’t believe it either.  And when I read the recipe I thought there must be some sort of flaw to it because it seems too forehead-smacking simple.  But it is.  And it tastes amazing!  I have no pictures for this batch but rest assured, there are more experiments to come and I’ll take pictures as I go (mind you, my darling wife was so nice to suggest that I do an entire new batch just to take pictures… more like she’s hankering for some more and is using that as an excuse but she’s cute so I’m more than willing to accommodate her).  So let’s get to the basics and then delve into the possibilities!
Ingredients:
  • Bananas
  • Options: (see below)
Directions:
  1. Slice bananas into 1/2 pieces into a freezable bowl.
  2. Freeze bananas (takes about an hour or so depending on how many bananas you cut up).
  3. Once frozen, drop in a food processor and chop until creamy (takes a while and looks like gravel for a while before creaming).  Make sure to push down sides and cream it thoroughly.
  4. Add options if desired (though plain, it’s pretty good too!)
That’s it!  When you’re done, you have a very thick, very banana-y, very creamy substance that resembles ice cream and tastes… well… like bananas.  But don’t stop there!  Here’s some great options you might want to try WHILE THE FOOD PROCESSOR IS STILL ON:
  • Drizzle almond milk into the mix to make it a bit less dense and add a bit more ice cream-like taste (vanilla almond milk would be perfect here).
  • Add other fruits such as strawberries, cherries, blueberries, etc.  The possibilities are endless!
  • Chocolate syrup, cocoa powder (sweetened), or even your favorite chocolate bars (Snickers, anyone?) would be an amazing addition.
  • Think banana split!
  • Non-vegan option: honey and almond milk in this would make for a pretty amazing and creamy taste.
As you can imagine, there’s a lot more options that you can choose from but the above is a good start.  If you use just the bananas, it becomes the consistency of pudding, if that’s too thick, add almond, soy or coconut milk slowly.  For the next batch, I’m going to try it without freezing the bananas first.  I’m sure creaming them will be the same so I’m curious if freezing before is a must or if you can cream then freeze.  Results (and pictures) will be posted.
And as always, please add your comments below if you try this and let me know what you added!

Let them eat Crockpot Cake!

Okay, so maybe Marie Antoinette didn’t say it exactly like that but if she had a Crockpot, I bet she would have!  I’ve heard rumors that you can back a cake in the crockpot but you know me, I have to find out for myself.  Now let me say that I wasn’t going to go crazy with a super-duper-completely-from-scratch recipe only to discover that you can’t actually bake a cake in a crockpot.  So I used a boxed cake.  Devil’s Food to be exact.  And I have to say… it came out tasty, moist and just like a regular over-baked cake.  OK, not exactly like an oven-baked cake because it was the shape of my semi oval crockpot and didn’t look very pretty (but I wasn’t going for aesthetics this time).  It was an experiment and now that I know, I can expand upon this.  Here’s my notes on baking a cake in the slow cooker:
Needs:
  • Boxed cake mix – including any requirements from the back of the box such as eggs, oil and water
  • Parchment paper OR Baker’s Joy (I do NOT use Baker’s Joy personally but have heard that it is the best product for this type of baking)
  • NOTE: You can use cupcake foils if they are stiff enough to stand on their own with the batter in them.
  • Crockpot/slow cooker
Directions:
  1. Mix batter as instructed on the back of the cake mix box.
  2. Line crockpot with parchment paper (I measure out the bottom of the pan and make neat folds for more aesthetically pleasing cake) or use Baker’s Joy.
  3. Pour batter into crockpot.
  4. Cover the top of the crockpot with paper towels (to absorb the moisture and allow the cake to actually bake).
  5. Put lid over the paper towels, pulling the towels taunt across so they don’t droop into the rising cake.
  6. Set your cooker on high for an hour.
  7. Check your cake after an hour with a toothpick.  Poke the cake in the center with the toothpick as far down as it will go and pull it back.  If it has batter on it, the cake is not done; cover with paper towels & lid and continue to bake for another half hour.  If it comes back clean, it’s done.
  8. Once done, immediately remove the cake by lifting the parchment paper and placing it on a cooling rack.  If you didn’t use a liner, allow the cake to cool enough to be able to handle it and remove from crockpot.
  9. Allow cake to completely cool before frosting/icing.
Let me know how yours comes out or feel free to post any questions/comments below!  Thanks!

Pumpkin Pancake Rolls

I love making these great rolls for a quick breakfast/snack during the week.
Ingredients:
  • 2 cups Bisquick (it’s vegan!)
  • 2 cups vanilla almond milk
  • 1 Tablespoon custard powder
  • 4 Tablespoons raw honey
  • 15 oz. can of pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
  • Safflower or Grapeseed Oil
  • Cream cheese
Directions:
  1. Incorporate all ingredients except oil and cream cheese into a large bowl using a whisk or mixer.
  2. Add a small amount of oil to a pan over medium heat.
  3. Pour the desired size of pancake into pan and cook thoroughly on both sides.
  4. Allow pancakes to cool completely and separately (I use parchment paper between pancakes while they are cooling so they don’t stick).
  5. Once cooled, add a layer of cream cheese to the pancake.
  6. Roll pancake cream cheese side in.
  7. Wrap roll with parchment paper or Press-n-Seal (I actually use both as I already have the parchment there and the Press-n-Seal keeps it for several days with no problems).
  8. Put in fridge and eat whenever!

Mango and Honey Sorbet

I can’t say I have much of a sweet tooth… unless it comes to ice cream or sorbets.  BUT before the Dictionary Thumpers start correcting me about the difference, Sorbets and sherbets are very similar dishes using fruits, a sweetener and either dairy (sherbet) or alcohol (sorbet).  Sherbets were originally termed “dairy sorbets” and I use the term interchangeably for this specific reason.  Most Americans do the same because appearance wise, there is very little difference.  Besides, I have this whole “it’s MY blog” attitude that will render any arguments futile.
Back to the discussion at hand… as I was saying, I LOVE ice cream or sorbets (dairy and otherwise) and was thinking yesterday how it’s been ages since I’ve had sorbet.  I asked Bre if she liked sorbet or sherbet and she stated that she LOVED sherbet!  GREAT!  Off to the freezer I went to grab her favorite flavor… mango.  I also grabbed some frozen black cherries.  I pulled out the almond milk (which is a wonderful flavor alternative for vegans or those lactose intolerant) and honey (you can use a sugar/water solution which is common for sorbets but as you all know, we don’t use sugar in our home).
And then… the food processor did a death rattle… or should I say… attempted to die a silent death because when I pressed the button, nothing happened.  My handy, dandy, fix-it-girl, loves-to-take-things-apart, wife came to the rescue.  She operated on said processor, discovered the issue, corrected it and put her back together, good as almost-new (let’s face it, I use the food processor a LOT).  The patient made a full recovery and we enjoyed the “fruits” of Bre’s labor (yes, she actually made that joke as we were eating the sorbet).  She also stated emphatically that she liked it far more than ice cream!  I have to agree with her, it was scrumptious!   So here’s how I do it (get ready for no measurements because this is a purely taste specific thing for most people).
Ingredients:
  • Your favorite frozen fruit (single flavors work better than multiple flavors unless both are distinctly sharp/strong)
  • Almond milk (I suggest coconut only it if compliments the flavor of fruit you are using.  Soy works well too.)
  • Honey, agave or sugar-water solution (sugar-water is a 1:1 cup ratio of sugar dissolved into boiling water and let cool, you can make this sweeter if so desired)
Directions:
  1. Add frozen fruit to your food processor and puree it on high until a either it’s a shaved ice looking consistency (the more frozen the better for this).
  2. Continue to puree the fruit while slowly adding almond milk to the mixture until it becomes a creamy consistency (this generally depends on the amount and type of fruit you use, I used four cups of cubed mangos and used about 1/2 a cup of almond milk but the cherries were a little over a cup).
  3. Taste test the mixture.  Slowly add a tablespoon of your sweetener at a time, fully incorporating it before tasting again, until it’s the desired sweetness.  Again, different fruits use less/more sweetener so it really is a personal preference.
  4. When finished, pour into individual serving size, freezable cups and put in freezer for four hours or until thoroughly set.
Other Options
  • Green tea sorbet: When making the sugar (or honey) water solution, use water infused with green tea leaves!
  • Chai sorbet: Same as above only with a chai tea bag.
  • Google it!  There are so many tasty and amazing suggestions out there that make this one of the easiest and most versatile desserts you will ever make.
Notes:
  • Alcohol instead of milk: I love to use wine coolers, fruity wines, and champagnes for sorbets.  But they will not cream the fruit so you will have to add according to taste and I strongly suggest doing so BEFORE adding the sweetener as that drastically changes the taste as well.  As for using heavier wines such as merlots or cabernets, this as wonderful to try but can sometimes wash out the taste of the fruit and very little is used.
  • What fruits to pick: Though this depends primarily on taste, the type of fruit you use will change the consistency of your sorbet.  Creamier fruits such as those in the melon family, mangos, cantaloupes, strawberries, etc. will have a more creamy appearance.  More watery fruits such as watermelon, lemons, oranges, etc. will have a more shaved ice appearance.  Don’t fret, they will still taste amazing.

Minced Meat Pies

Ingredients

  • Minced beef – 1 ½ lbs
  • Beef broth – ½ cup
  • Apple cider – 1 ½ qt
  • Apples – 2 lbs (granny smith)
  • Currents – ½ lb
  • Brown sugar – 2 cups
  • Molasses – 12 ounces
  • Allspice – ¼ Tbsp
  • Nutmeg – ¼ Tbsp
  • Cinnamon – 1 Tbsp
  • Cloves – 1 tsp ground
  • Cherries – ½ lb dried
  • Orange juice concentrate
  • Raisins – ½ lb
  • Ginger – ½ tsp
Directions
  1. Core, peel and slice apples.
  2. Mix ingredients together (except meat), in a food processor and chop till minced.
  3. Pour ingredients into a crock pot and set on high.  Cook till slow boil then set on low and cook for three hours or till mixture stiffens.
  4. Add 1 cup mixture for every pound of meat to a skillet and brown beef.
  5. Add meat to minced mixture and thoroughly incorporate.
  6. Add mixture to pie shells or wrap a spoonful in a prepared roll. (See options)
  7. Cook till crust is golden.
  8. Cool and serve.  Unused portions freeze well.
Options:
  • Brandy: add 1 cup of brandy to the above recipe when you add the mixture to the crockpot or marinade your meat in it.
  • You can cook this quite quickly on the stove top by boiling the mixture till everything is fully cooked, softened and the liquid thickens slightly.
  • If you want a thicker sauce, add arrowroot till you achieve the desired consistency.

Deven’s No Bake Pumpkin Topping

Ingredients

  • 12 oz. cream cheese
  • 29 oz. can of pumkpin
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla flavoring
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon nutmeg
  • Options: For sweeter topping, added honey/agave to taste
Directions:
  1. Add all ingredients into a large mixing bowl.
  2. Stir thoroughly first with a spoon/spatula.
  3. Beat until fully incorporated and no lumps are present (will need to scrape sides often).
  4. Add to bread, cake, pie, etc. as suggested above or create your own masterpiece.
Yup!  That’s it!  How awesome is that?!  Enjoy!