Tuesday, July 22, 2014

No Machine Vegan Viennetta for Recipe Redux!

Last month I received some exciting news...Baking Backwards has partnered with The Recipe ReDux! Today's post is my first recipe to share with The Recipe ReDux community and it's a keeper!

If you are unfamiliar, The Recipe ReDux is the first and only recipe challenge founded by registered dietitians. It's aim is to generate amazing healthy recipes to share with the public. Each month, the official Recipe ReDux bloggers are challenged by a new recipe theme. On the 21st and 22nd of each month, two groups of these official bloggers share their creations on their own blogs and link to each other so that blog visitors (like you!) can discover all of the delicious creations (and partner blogs) involved in the month's theme challenge. It's like a big party where everyone brought something amazing along that won't wreck your diet. Win.

This month the ReDux challenge was to create a recipe featuring extracts or spirits. I don't use a lot of alcohol in my baking and cooking these days but I do love vanilla extract and peppermint extract so I paired them in today's recipe. BE WARNED: A little peppermint extract goes a VERY long way so add it in tiny quantities until you achieve your desired mintiness.

When I planned out this recipe I intended  to make a frozen chocolate peppermint slice but accidently created a delicious vegan "Viennetta" ice cream cake! If you don't remember Viennetta, this video should jog your memory! It was a branded delicious soft ice cream "cake", really more like a slab or a log, with thin crispy layers of chocolate that cracked when you sliced it. Mmm.

The recipe for today has two parts. Part 1 is a creamy and silky "ice cream" made from coconut cream and golden yam, flavoured with peppermint extract and sweetened with stevia and just a touch of maple syrup. Part 2 is a silky and sweet peppermint raw chocolate shell made from coconut oil and raw cacao powder, sweetened with stevia and a hint of maple syrup. This dessert offers a healthy dose of fibre from the yams, lots of antioxidants from the raw cacao, healthy fats from the coconut oil and cream, and is quite low in sugar and free from refined sugar. It tastes very rich and satisfying for such an innocent ice cream cake. In fact, I'm hesitant to call it "ice cream" since the creamy coconut layer would also make a delicious healthy soup if you left out the stevia and mint! By why make soup when you can just as easily indulge in a delicious cake like this without the huge slice of guilt?!

I have made many vegan "ice creams" over the past few years and am often disappointed with the results. This is an exception. The texture is really creamy and delicious and the flavour is dreamy. Don't skip the peppermint and vanilla extract, they really make the coconut layer taste like ice cream. This recipe is very easy to make and doesn't require an ice cream maker. I enjoyed the recipe both soft and firm. It is very reminiscent of Viennetta if you only freeze it for about an hour and a half. For a more traditional firm ice cream that you can scoop, freeze overnight or for at least 4-6 hours. 

I hope you give this recipe a try, its a new favourite! To anyone just discovering my blog via the Recipe ReDux community, welcome to Baking Backwards, where delicious food goes hand in hand with healthy eating. Y'all come back now.

(vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, nut-free)
  • 3 cups peeled and chopped golden yam, steamed until soft
  • 1 can organic coconut cream
  • 1/2 tsp peppermint extract
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch pink salt
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • stevia to taste
  • 1/8 tsp acv
  • 1 tbsp virgin coconut oil

Blend together very well in a high speed blender until thick like a cream soup. Taste and adjust sweetness as desired with more maple or stevia. Set aside

  • 5-6 tbsp deodorized or virgin coconut oil
  • 5-6 tbsp raw cacao powder
  • tiny pinch pink salt
  • liquid stevia to taste
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/8 tsp peppermint extract

Whisk together all part 2 ingredients in a double boiler over low simmering water, just enough to gently melt. Whisk until smooth. Taste. add extra stevia if not sweet enough.

Spread half the chocolate mixture evenly along the bottom of a parchment or plastic wrap lined bread pan. Place in the freezer for about 10 minutes to set. If you are impatient you can add the coconut mixture to it right away which will marble the two layers together. Pour the coconut mixture on top of the set or unset chocolate layer and spread out evenly to the sides. Place in the freezer to set firm. Once set, top with the remaining chocolate mixture (first melting the mixture again over low heat if it has solidified in room temperature). Freeze another ten minutes to set solid. Carefully remove the parchment lining shell by lifting the whole thing up holding each side and transferring it parchment and all to a plate. Slice with a sharp knife and serve.

Monday, June 30, 2014

My EBOOK / BOOK is on sale NOW!

Today is a good day. Though I feel a little rough (stayed up very late taking care of business), I am so pleased to be able to write that my new EBOOK and new printed COOKBOOKS are now on sale at Blurb.ca !!!

The image above is the cover page of my new healthy cookbook, Every Day (SUPER)food.  The book is available on blurb.ca for purchase and here, on Baking Backwards, in my own little online store. I am selling the ebook for only $4.99 which is a bargain considering it is 130+ pages of my best recipes and photos!

Every Day (SUPER)food is a 130+ page printed book and ebook devoted to affordable SUPERFOOD recipes for every day of the week. The recipes span breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert and drinks. They ALL involve healthy superfoods. They are all allergy-friendly. They are all vegetarian. They are all gluten-free. They are all dairy free.  They are all sou free. Almost ALL of the recipes are vegan. The majority of the recipes are grain-free. Several recipes are paleo-friendly. Several recipes are raw vegan.

This book is for anyone who enjoys delicious and healthy recipes. This book is for people who enjoy food porn and food photography. This book is for anyone who eats a gluten-free diet or wants to experiment with gluten-free cooking. This book is ideal for anyone with food allergies and sensitivities. This book is for anyone who is interested in AFFORDABLE SUPERFOODS and recipes.

The EBOOK version of my book is $4.99. BUY IT HERE
The PRINT version of my book ranges from $60-$79 (due to the high volume of colour photo spreads and printing quality, I do not control this price) depending on how you want it printed (softcover, hardcover with image wrap, hardcover with dist jacket). 

*There are VOLUME DISCOUNTS at blurb for the PRINT version of my book.*

Buy it for yourself or give it to a friend! If you do purchase this book, I hope you love it.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Rhubarb in my taco

I really enjoy rhubarb and I love that more and more bloggers are embracing the versatile vegetable too. I've seen rhubarb syrups and cocktails, rhubarb oatmeal creations, and pies and crumbles galore. While browsing instagram a few weeks ago I saw a picture of stewed rhubarb on oatmeal. It looked delicious but also mysteriously resembled pulled pork! I started to think...could rhubarb stand in for meat in a vegan "pulled pork" style entree?! Why the hell not! So, into the kitchen I went, rhubarb in hand, to get to work on a very new, very cool new way to use this delightful vegetable.

I started by roasting the rhubarb in the oven. I decided to throw a few fresh figs in as well assuming they would lend a nice sweetness and softness to my dish. They smelled delightful in there as they caramelized and shrank in the intense heat of my oven.

Once they were both oozy and roasted, I threw them in my food processor along with some ingredients to mimic barbeque sauce flavour. Pulse pulse pulse. I was left with a chunky and delicious barbeque-esque mess. It was a little soft and wet at this stage for my taste though so I threw in a couple medjool dates for binding and density, as well as a lot of beautiful candy cane beet which I grated. The beet shreds made the mixture more substantial and absorbed a lot of the excess moisture from the rhubarb and sauce ingredients. One spoonful, quickly turned into five, I was hooked. Before I devoured it all in one sitting, I decided I should enjoy it as a plantstrong 'taco' by spooning it into some raw collard green leaves (appropriately Southern). I rolled them up and enjoyed them like tiny burritos (minus everything you would expect in a burrito). They were really, really good.

I won't lie, my husband was scared at first. This was one kitchen experiment he had no desire at all to taste test. I shoved it in his face and hoped for a bite. Victory, he loved them too. Don't relegate rhubarb to your next pie, it is so much more than a pseudo-fruit.

Rhubarb Tacos
gluten-free, vegan, plantstrong, paleo
Part 1:
  • 3 cup rhubarb, chopped
  • 3 fresh figs, quartered, top knot removed

Preheat oven to 400F. Add chopped fig and rhubarb to a baking sheet lined with parchment. Roast in the hot oven until figs are golden at the edges and rhubarb has released most of its water.

Part 2:
  • 1 large chiogga beet, grated, skin on
  • roasted rhubarb and figs
  • 1/3-1/2 cup organic tomato ketchup
  • 1 tbsp chopped white onion
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • pinch pink salt
  • 1 tbsp or more garlic powder

Add all part 2 ingredients to a food processor and pulse until sloppy wet. Transfer to a bowl.

Part 3:
  • 1 large grated chiogga beet, divided
  • 1-2 tbsp white onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp-2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tbsp ketchup
  • 1-2 small pitted dates (I used two small medjool dates, the equivalent of 1 average sized medjool date)
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp hot sauce (optional)

Add all part 3 ingredients (but only half the beet) to food processor and pulse until coarsely mixed. Add the reserved rhubarb mixture and pulse to mix in. Add the extra grated beet and pulse just twice briefly. Adding the extra beet at the end keeps the mixture from becoming way too wet. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate until ready to enjoy in taco shells or collard leaves. I like to eat this cold but feel free to heat it up in a frying pan before serving.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

HEALTHY Brookies!

I love it when a plan comes together. I've been really "good" about sweets lately -- hardly indulging beyond a green smoothie and I've been trying to eat mostly raw vegan foods. But last night I cracked. Rather than dive full face into a vat of ice cream I grabbed my food processor and whipped up a really amazing bar -- a virtuous brookie. This bar could be dinner its so healthy. But taste it and you'd never know it was good for you.

If you don't know what a brookie is, basically it's a brownie like bar with a brownie bottom layer and a cookie topping. I went with the classic brookie flavours in my bar recipe --> a gargantuan chocolate chip cookie on top of a fudgey chocolate chip brownie. Delicious. I did not go classic at all for the recipe though -- black bean-sweet potato-avocado brownie meet chickpea chocolate chip cookie dough! I also kept the sugar low and from exclusively healthy sources -- thank you stevia, maple and raw honey!

Perhaps the only unhealthy addition was the chocolate chips, but even they aren't so bad and could easily be omitted or replaced with cacao nibs. I opted to use Enjoy Life brand -- they're sweetened with brown sugar but they're soy-free, nut-free, dairy-free and totally vegan so I dig them big time. Oh and they're mini, who doesn't love that! All in all this amazing bar is loaded with vegan protein (chickpeas, black beans), good fat (avocado), good veg and good starch (sweet potato, brown rice flour), and healthy sweeteners (stevia with a touch of maple syrup and raw honey). As far as I'm concerned, it might just be what's for dinner, tonight.

PS: The recipe is in two parts because the bar has two layers!

The Healthy Brookie: Brownie Layer
  • 1/2 cup cacao powder or cocoa powder
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 ripe avocado(mine was average in size, about the size of a hardball baseball)
  • 2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1-2 tbsp raw honey (or sub agave or brown rice syrup to make fully VEGAN)
  • 1.5 tbsp maple
  • 1/3 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup filtered water
  • 1 cup brown rice flour (or more for more dense brownie layer)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Dash cinnamon
  • 1 cup chopped sweet potato, steamed until very tender
  • Liquid pure Stevia (to your taste)
  • 1.5 tbsp soy-free vegenaise (or oil of your choice)
  • 1/4 cup mini vegan chocolate chips
Blend all ingredients except mini chocolate chips together in food processor until smooth and thick like waffle batter (thicker than a cake batter, more like a thick pudding). Add more flour if the batter is too thin or more water if the batter is too thick. Taste. Add stevia to sweeten to your taste and blend well. Once you think the batter is sweet enough, add mini chocolate chips and pulse to distribute evenly. Scrape the mixture into a parchment lined 9x9 square cake pan and spread evenly out to edges. Place in freezer while you make cookie topping.

The Healthy Brookie: Cookie Layer
  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • Pinch salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2-1 cup brown rice flour
  • 1 tbsp raw honey
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • Liquid pure stevia to taste
  • 1 tbsp soy-free vegenaise or coconut oil
  • 1.5-2 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup mini vegan chocolate chips plus a small handful
Preheat oven to 350F.
Blend everything but rice flour and chips until smooth. Add the flour in batches, blending and tasting until the texture is comparable to a traditional, thick and cold cookie dough. Once the cookie dough is thick, stop adding flour. Add enough liquid stevia to sweeten the dough to your taste (add a little at a time and blend after each addition, tasting as you go). Add the ¼ cup of chocolate chips and pulse to distribute evenly.
Remove brownie layer from freezer. Top with dollops of the dough evenly and flatten them out with a spoon. Sprinkle the extra handful of chocolate chips over the top evenly. Bake in the center of the hot oven until firm. The edges need to be firm so look up close by lifting up a corner of the parchment when you think its nearly done to be sure that the edges have fully set. I baked mine about 15-20 mins.
Slice and serve hot. This bar tastes nice room temperature as well after it cools.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Protein coming out of my ears!

Ok, first off a HUGE apology to anyone who subscribes to my blog and actually looks forward to my posts. I have been so beyond MIA this last few months. But I have a legitimate excuse! I have not been myself, in fact I have been really out of it. I have had a huge relapse in my anxiety and stress levels as I transition to the life of a freelancer. Uncertainty is the culprit. From day to day it's hard to know my schedule, client roster, income. It's been a rollercoaster! But I'm happy to report that both my work and my mental health are starting to find an even keel. I have more stable clients, I'm getting new business all the time without seeking it out and I have embraced yoga and meditation! Yoga has been totally changing my response to uncertainty. Rather than hyperventilate, I'm opting to breathe deeply, and twist my way to relaxation. I haven't felt this good in years!

Another main reason I have been so out of the picture is that I'm in the final stretch of my new ebook! It will be released for sale in a week or two and I'm really pleased with how it turned out. It's not a 'here's my top ten recipes' kind of ebook at all. The recipes are brand new and some of my best healthy baking and cooking experiments ever! They're all gluten-free, vegan friendly, nut-free, soy-free, dairy-free, refined-sugar-free and totally delicious. Don't miss this book!

Since wrapping up the recipe development period of my book writing I have been embracing a diet that's relatively sugar-free --  healthy or not, making the book had me eating sweets more often than I care to normally and my body needed a break! The sweet recipes in the book are far healthier than what you'd find in  a bakery or restaurant but they're still dessert and I prefer to keep my normal intake of them to once or twice a week. But during the development stage I was making recipes nearly every day! Once I was done with recipe testing I embraced green smoothies, vegan protein powder, and stevia whole heartedly, trying to restore a sense of calm in my body. I have been making new recipes using these ingredients and sharing them on instagram -- have you followed me? Get on it!

Today's recipe uses vegan protein powder and stevia and is absolutely delicious. I proudly present my first successful protein pancake recipe! I hope that you enjoy these Chocolate Banana Protein Pancakes with High Protein Chocolate Sauce!

Chocolate Banana Protein Pancakes
  • ½ cup sliced banana
  • 1 tbsp brown rice flour
  • 1 tbsp millet flour
  • 2-3 tbsp stevia sweetened vanilla rice protein powder
  • 1 tbsp unflavoured protein powder or more vanilla powder
  • 1 tbsp pure cacao or cocoa powder
  • stevia to taste
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp pear sauce or apple sauce (unsweetened)
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp vinegar
  • ⅓-½ cup water
  • tiny pinch sea salt
    1/2-1 tsp evoo or oil of your choice
  • 4-5 banana slices, optional
Mash the banana, salt and flours and protein powders together with a fork until smooth. Add the cocoa and mash. Add the water and mix well. Add the oil, baking soda and vinegar and mix well. Add the pear sauce and mix well. Taste! Add stevia if not sweet enough.
Heat a frying pan over medium high heat. Once warm, spoon silver dollar sized blobs of the pancake batter into the pan (my batter made 4), spaced out well. Top each with a banana slice. Once puffed and the edges seem tight, flip with a spatula and cook through on opposite side. Remove and stack. Top with Chocolate Protein Syrup or maple syrup.

Chocolate Protein Syrup
  • 1 tsp cacao or cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla rice protein powder
  • 1 tsp pear or apple butter, unsweetened
  • 1-2 tbsp water
  • stevia to taste
Add all ingredients to a small bowl or glass. Stir together until smooth. Taste! Add
stevia if not sweet enough. Use as a sauce for pancakes.

Friday, March 28, 2014

GF Vegan Chocolate Ganache Cupcakes and My E-book

Mmm...healthy dark chocolate cupcakes. And they're gluten-free and vegan too! This recipe was developed for my upcoming ebook (available in April). It was delicious but didn't quite make the cut for the new book so I'm glad to be able to share it with you today! These healthy cupcakes get their amazing texture and depth of flavor from golden sweet potatoes and whole grain gluten-free flour (most flours will work).

So, yay!!! If you haven't heard, Baking Backwards will release an e-book for sale next month! Recipes are primarily e-book exclusive (ie. brand spanking new!). I am currently sharing unedited pics of a little of my recipe development on instagram. Have you followed me there yet? Get on it! A few modest unedited recipe development pics are also up on a special pinterest board! These are nowhere near the quality of my edited book images!!!

Let's see what I mean by that:

Big difference, eh? In short, my finished ebook photos are far superior to my instagram recipe development snaps so if food photos get your motor running, watch out for this ebook! And the best part is, if you like what you see I chose a publisher that can print the book to order! So the choice is yours whether you want an ebook or a hardcover! I'm going for hardcover!

Looking for the recipes that go with the new instagram pics? You'll have to order the ebook (don't worry, it will be super affordable!) next month to snag them, but I promise I'm putting all my energy,  heart and soul into this book so you won't be disappointed! These are by far my healthiest and most delicious recipes ever guys and I'm saving them just for you!

As I mentioned above, today's recipe is one off the new recipes I've been developing that didn't make the cut for my ebook. It is so delicious though that I had to share. It got beat out of the running by another cupcake recipe that's too delicious for words. I hope you choose to make these cupcakes asap so you know how high my bar was set for my new book!



Chocolate Ganache Cupcakes
(gluten-free,vegan, whole grain)
Part 1:
  • Just under 3 cups golden sweet potato (peeled and chopped and steamed until tender)
  • Pinch salt

Add potatoes and salt to food processor and blend well.

Part 2:
  • 3-4 tbsp virgin coconut oil
  • 4 tbsp maple
  • 3 tbsp pear or apple sauce
  • 1 tbsp pear or apple butter
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 6-7 tbsp cream from can full fat coconut milk

Add and  blend well until smooth.

Part 3:
  • 1 2/3 cup coconut water
  • 1 tbsp oil of choice ( I use evoo)

Add and blend well

Part 4:
  • 1/3 -1/2 cup raw cacao powder
  • 1/3 cup dark coconut sugar

Add and blend well.

Part 5:
  • 2 tbsp chia
  • 1.5 tbsp milled flax
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vinegar

Add and blend well.

Part 6:
  • 3/4-1 cup whole grain gluten-free flour or gluten-free all-purpose blend (I used millet flour but I think they would taste better with brown rice flour or quinoa flour)

Add and blend in well.

Part 7:
  • 1/4-1/3 cup mini vegan chocolate chips (optional)
Mix in by hand. Spoon batter into muffin liner lined muffin pan. Bake in oven preheated to 350F until semi firm to touch. Remove and cool fully. Make ganache frosting while they cool.

Chocolate Ganache Frosting
(gluten-free, vegan)
Part 1:
  • 4-5 tbsp coconut cream
  • Pinch salt

Melt together in pot over medium heat.

Part 2:
  • 1 tbsp maple
  • 1-2 tbsp coconut sugar

Whisk in until smooth. Remove from heat.

Part 3:
  • 1.5 tbsp cacao paste or 2 tbsp raw cacao powder

Whisk in until smooth. Dollop on cooled cupcakes.