Saturday, December 11, 2010

Holiday Treats

Hello, Hello, Hello

Sorry that it has taken me so long to post anything.  I have been very busy with work and volunteering and I am just plain old exhausted.  But even with my schedule I have found plenty of time to cook so I still have a few things to post.

Today I went to the Holiday Market in Eugene to pick up my bean CSA.  24 pounds of fresh, dried, organic heirloom beans!  Arikara, calypso, dutch bullet, Ireland creek annie, jacob's cattle, rio zape and Vermont cranberry.  

I have beans for the year!  I need to eat 1/2 a pound of beans every week for the next 52 weeks to be able to eat all of the beans I have.  When I came across this little stand at the Saturday Farmers Market I had never soaked and cooked my own beans-I was scared.  It was all new to me.  But I couldn't resist the challenge these beautifully packaged beans presented to me.  Boy am I glad I bought my first bag.  These beans are fantastic!  Not only are they super cheap, $130 for the entire year ($2.50 per week) (think about if you were to buy a can of low sodium, organic beans at the store...$2 or more dollars per can), but they are richer in minerals and nutrients because they are freshly dried.  And I am supporting a lovely, local farmer.  I have already started to look for more interesting bean recipes, one which will follow, but I always need more so feel free to send me your favorites!

I am enjoying cooking at home more and more.  I knew that I always enjoyed it, but I am really starting to prefer it.  Creating meals from scratch makes me proud.  Not going to the grocery store and buying a container of apple sauce or frozen gluten-free bread makes me feel competent.  I love going into work and sharing my LOVE with others.  That is what food is - love.

So...all of the recipes today are yummy treats, perfect for holiday get togethers.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I have!

Black Bean Fudge

I found this website while searching for a gluten free bread made with teff flour.  She has the most delicious looking recipes and photos.  Oh, and her teff flour bread-delightful.  This fudge recipe IS something you should write home about.  I brought it into work and everyone loved it.  They couldn't believe that it was made with a can of black beans!  It is very intense so I would suggest cutting it up into smaller pieces.

1 15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 Cup + 2 Tablespoons melted coconut oil 
1/4 Cup carob powder, cocoa powder or a mix
2 Teaspoons vanilla extract
1-2 Tablespoons agave nectar (to your taste)
1/4-1/2 Teaspoon stevia extract (I didn't have any so I just added two medjool dates and a few extra tablespoons of agave nectar)
Sea salt

Combine all ingredients, except for salt, in a food processor and process until totally smooth.

Line an 8x4 pan with saran wrap or parchment paper and transfer fudge mixture into pan, pressing down firmly.  Sprinkle with a bit of coarsely ground sea salt.   Put into refrigerator and let set for at least an hour.  Cut into about 24 squares.  This can be kept in the fridge for about 6 days.

Peanut Butter Candy
Courtesy: "The Gluten-Free Vegan"

Susan O'Brien, the author of this book warns that these lovely balls of goodness are addictive...I heed this warning to you as well.  Plan on sharing them or having a really good reason to tell people why you ate them all.

1/2 Cup organic peanut butter (I use the fresh ground peanut butter at the store, the stuff you grind yourself)
1/8 Cup pitted and chopped medjool dates
1/4 Cup chopped pecans
1/4 Cup sesame seeds
1/4 Cup brown rice syrup
1 Tablespoon arrowroot powder
1/8 Teaspoons ground cardamom

Line a small cookie sheet or platter with parchment paper.

Place all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and stir together until mixed really well.  Roll into balls and place each ball on the prepared cookie sheet.  Chill until set.

Pumpkin Pie Pudding

Here is another food blog that I follow on a regular basis.  I adore these sisters.  Their food is creative, warm and you never feel bad after eating it.

Sorry the picture is so uninspiring, but I promise this is so easy and flavorful you will enjoy it.

1/2 Cup pumpkin puree
1/2 Cup coconut milk
3 Tablespoons maple syrup
1 1/2 Tablespoons ground chia seeds
3/4 Teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 Teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 Teaspoon ground nutmeg
Pinch of ground cloves
Pinch of ground ginger

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.  Let sit overnight, or a few hours in the fridge.

You could top with chopped nuts or your own crumble topping!

Gluten Free Pumpkin Pie with Praline and Pecan-Coconut Crust

This lady is near genius.  I use her blog nearly weekly to find something sweet and yummy to make.  She has so many recipes that you are bound to find something you like.

This recipe caught my eye because I had never really seen a vegan pumpkin pie recipe that did not use tofu.  Karina uses a cashew cream.  I figured I would have to try it.  And to be honest, I had never made a pumpkin pie before.  Here was another challenge awaiting me.

I made this on Thursday for a little dinner party I was having.  I had no idea how it was going to turn out and fretted about it for most of Friday.  On the way to the dinner I realized that I had forgotten to make the praline!  Oh well, life goes on.  When it came time to cut into the pie I was relieved when it didn't fall apart.  This is some pie!  Not too sweet but full of flavor.  I received complement after complement.  They all said that they wouldn't have known it was gluten free or vegan!  And we had two non-vegan/vegetarians there!  Best kind of compliments a girl can get.  :)

I am not going to repost her recipe word for word, I am going to be lazy and just post the link to the recipe.  Please check it out though.  

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