[pah-tay-toe] Confessions

“GRANDMA ATE ALL OF THE POTATOES!”

I don’t care how you pronounce it, but I need to share my secret love for potatoes and there’s a recipe at the end.

Specifically, the much maligned WHITE potato: simple, sturdy, earthy.

On the last day of my most recent visit to the Angels, sadly, a very long time ago, DIL thoughtfully made a special going home dinner for me, all from scratch by the way, which made it even more wonderful.

There was vegan lasagna with a side of roasted potatoes and apple crumble. The lasagna was made with chard and kale from the garden and was SO VERY YUMMY and healthy.

Apparently (and rightly so) she thought I didn’t eat white potatoes because for the longest time, I would scowl at anything white: white rice, white flour, white sugar, white potatoes–as the source of empty calories, zero nutrition, and a great friend of diabetes. Not too healthy.

From the oven there emanated a most delicious perfume. I asked DIL what I was smelling and she said, “It’s roasted potatoes but you don’t have to eat them. I know you don’t like white potatoes.”

Not so fast, DIL.

I want to not like them, but I’m addicted to French fries (has anyone ever seen me hoard them? It’s not a pretty sight.) I actually dearly love white potatoes, but I try NOT to eat them and have some semblance of self control, like I say I don’t eat chocolate, only because I have no off switch. Once I start eating chocolate, I can’t stop. I don’t ever have any around because of my lack of restraint, which is also the reason why I buy Halloween candy like Skittles and other stuff I don’t like so I won’t be tempted.

OK, enough of the sidebar; back to the story of the roast potatoes.

Dinner was ready and we were setting the table. I was actually STARVING and had most likely once again forgotten to eat for the entire day.

DIL handed me a bowl of roasted potatoes and before they even reached the dining room table, I had eaten EVERY SINGLE ONE.

I brought the empty bowl into the kitchen and asked DIL where I could get seconds. She took one look at me and the empty bowl and started laughing.

“That was a sharing bowl! Did you eat all of them?”

“Well, yes, oops, sorry! I didn’t know they were for sharing!”

“T, Grandma ate ALL the potatoes!”

“YOU DID? HEY DAD, GRANDMA ATE ALL THE POTATOES IN THE SHARING BOWL! SHE REALLY DID!”

I hadn’t tasted anything so delicious in FOREVER; OMG they were so good, I’ve been thinking about them ever since I came home.

And by the way, I had never heard of the term “sharing bowl” before that day. It must be a British thing, as DIL is from the UK.

I finally broke down and bought two WHITE IDAHO potatoes and since it’s a bit rainy today and not devil hot, I’ll attempt a recreation of DILs heavenly dish. I’m even going to add salt and that’s also something I rarely do.

They tasted pretty yummy, but to be honest, not quite as good as DILs, but maybe that’s because it’s such a treat for me to have someone else cook, ‘cos I usually have that job.

I’m not sharing these, either!

Super Healthy Vegan Protein Smoothie

Happy Sunday!

The color of this smoothie was such a gorgeous jade green, I just had to pour it in a pretty cocktail glass and take a pic.

Ingredients:

+Vegan Pea Protein
+Moringa powder (Organic)
+Wheat grass powder (Organic)
+Spirulina powder (Organic)
+Kale
+Banana
+Mango Peach Juice

So easy; toss it all in a blender and enjoy!

3-Ingredient VEGAN Banana Oat Cookies

YES! It’s so simple and so healthy, a wonderful baking activity to do with children.

It’s your decision whether to stick with three basic ingredients or add extras. They can be as elaborate as you want.

The best part of this recipe is that it uses ZERO sweetener, however if you add granola, remember that it’s most likely made with sugar or honey. I don’t have gluten issues, but I guess you could call this technically a gluten-free recipe.

The secret to success is VERY ripe bananas, the kind that you’d only use for banana bread or think about tossing into the compost. That’s the level of ripeness we’re looking for here.

3 Ingredient Vegan Banana Oat Cookies

-1-2 very ripe bananas
-1 cup rolled oats (not quick oats) OR 1/2 cup oats and 1/2 cup granola, mine contained raisins.
-1/2 cup chopped nuts, I used raw almonds.

Directions: Mash bananas, stir in oats and nuts. (I sprinkled in 1 teaspoon cinnamon.)
Other additions could be raisins, flax/chia/hemp seeds, other dried fruit, coconut.

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl, chill for 30 minutes or so; then drop by a full teaspoon on parchment covered baking sheet. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 11-15 minutes, depending on your oven’s thermostat. Let cool on baking sheet before storing.

BEST Vegan Chocolate Cookies

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They really are!!!

For no other reason than I felt like a personal challenge, I went for about two weeks without eating ANY sugar.

No cookies, no cake, no pie, nothing sweet at all.

But last night, I had had enough. Even though I didn’t experience any withdrawals or anything, I felt like if I didn’t eat some chocolate, I’d lose my mind.

I didn’t feel like going to the grocery store ‘cos I think it’s fun to experiment with ingredients on hand–and this is what I created.

I’m happy to report that they’re absolutely delicious! The cookies puffed up and then became all crackly just like I hoped they would, so satisfying with a cuppa. Crisp and chewy. YUM.

P.S. These is a a perfect basic recipe. Add whatever you want: chocolate chips, nuts, coconut, chia/flax seeds.

Best Vegan Chocolate Cookies

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup coffee or a non-dairy beverage of choice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix oil, sugar, maple syrup, vanilla, and liquid. Add all the dry ingredients and combine to make a pliable dough. If it’s a little dry, add a bit more liquid.

Roll dough into walnut-sized balls and place on two parchment lined baking sheets. Flatten slightly with fork.

Bake for 10-12 minutes.

 

BEST Vegan Banana-Apple Bread

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On a lighter note from yesterday’s post about how a previously undetected congenital defect caused me to almost lose my precious boy…

It’s been a while since I posted a recipe and even longer since I actually baked (unless it was for the Angel Boys), so this is a milestone.

I was invited to a neighborhood socially distanced party and thought I’d bake something to promote the vegan life.

Since I REALLY hate it when you search for a recipe and have to scroll down about five miles of blah, blah, blah to get to the actual ingredients and directions just to hold you hostage, I won’t do that to you. You’re welcome.

It’s my own creation, my own experiment, and I hope you enjoy it as much as my friends did! It always amazes non-vegans that desserts don’t need eggs or dairy to taste delicious.

BEST Banana-Apple Bread (Vegan)

2 ripe bananas
1 apple
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup dark brown sugar (you could substitute any kind of sugar. If you sub agave, add a bit more flour)
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. cinnamon (we like a lot)
1 tsp. baking soda
pinch sea salt
2 cups flour (I used whole wheat; you can use white or any combo)

Core and cut apple into chunks. Put oil and apples into a Bullet or a blender to make a slurry. You can also grate the apple but I find this way works great.

Empty into a mixing bowl where you’ve already mashed the two bananas. Add vanilla and sugar. Mix well. Add cinnamon, flour, salt, and baking soda. Mix to combine but don’t overmix. Stir just until all the flour is incorporated. If the batter seems a bit dry, add a couple tablespoons of plant-based milk.
**This is where you can get creative and add things like raisins, nuts, coconut, other dried fruits.

Spray oil into a loaf pan and spoon in batter. Sometimes I sprinkle a little cinnamon sugar on top prior to baking or I ice it after with a simple glaze of powdered sugar and lemon or orange juice. This time I sprinkled.

Bake at 350 degree preheated oven for about 30 minutes until toothpick comes out clean. Don’t overbake. These breads should be super moist.

More brilliant convo with a human

Angel Boy 2.0 had a cold so he stayed home from preschool.

“I’m a little snotty today, Grandma!”
He was feeling much better after a long morning nap. We were in the living room looking at the windy day while he enjoyed a protein smoothie popsicle (see recipe below).

For the past couple of days, we had noticed a big truck parked in front of his house, taking up more than its fair share of the street. No one knew who it belonged to but we speculated that it possibly was a contractor’s vehicle working at a neighbor’s house.

Recently, Theo has been noticing different cars and trucks and asking for them to be identified. “I said, that’s a Dodge Ram truck. He is so rude to park there every day. He needs to park somewhere else.”

Theo repeated, “Yeah, he needs to park somewhere else. He’s so RUDE.”

All day long we would check to see if the truck was still there and it was, so it became an ongoing joke about how RUDE it was to park in front of Theo’s house so there wasn’t enough room for HIS car.

At dinnertime, we were sharing interesting stories about our day and in a moment of silence, Theo said, “Mommy and Daddy, that Dodge Ram truck is so RUDE!”

There was such a shocked expression on Mom and Dad’s faces, I really wish I had a photo to capture it because this is what it SOUNDED like Theo said…

That goddamn fuck is so RUDE!”

Dodge Ram truck = goddam fuck —a very expressive three-year-old with a mouth stuffed full of lasagna and a stuffy nose.

For a brief moment, I had a feeling they thought I had taught him how to swear like a merchant mariner. However, when I hastened to translate, we couldn’t stop laughing.

Until the mysterious man drove away, Theo kept saying, “He’s so RUDE with his Dodge Ram truck!”

Just another brilliant slice of conversation with this always enchanting human.

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Fruit and Protein Smoothie Popsicles

Cherries (any frozen or fresh fruit)
Banana – one
100% fruit juice — 8oz
Kale and/or spinach — handful
Vegan Protein Powder–one scoop
Cinnamon to taste

Combine kale and juice. Blend until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and blend to desired thickness. Pour into popsicle freezer containers, the ones with the little sticks. Freeze until firm.They are so healthy and delicious!

You heard right…I did say Vegan Lentil Kale Cookies

BF607BA9-C66F-4599-B127-A6B2A94341DFAnd they are DELICIOUS, much to even my surprise, haha.

I was playing around in the kitchen this morning and thought I’d challenge myself to experiment baking with only the ingredients I have in my pantry.

There’s not much food here, but that’s a sad story for another day. (I can pinpoint the exact date and time that my love for cooking and baking was destroyed like an atom bomb.)

Anyway…

I thought these cookies were going to be making the short journey from oven to compost BUT they surprised me, so I thought I should share the recipe before I forget. If you try them, let me know what you think.

Vegan Lentil Kale Cookies

Lentils (cooked)-one cup
Kale-1/2 cup raw (freshly picked from the garden.)
Banana-one, mashed
Oil-1/3 cup
1/3 cup agave plus 2 tablespoons maple syrup
Chia seeds-2 tablespoons
Raisins-1/2 cup
Oats-1//2 cup (oat flour, I make my own, so easy. 1/2 cup oats in the blender or Bullet or food processor, takes just a few seconds.)
Whole wheat flour-1 cup
Baking powder-1/2 teaspoon
Pinch salt
Cinnamon-1 teaspoon
Vanilla-1 teaspoon

If you don’t already have some leftover cooked lentils like I did, cook 1 cup of lentils with 2 cups of water until soft, about 20-30 minutes or until all the water is absorbed.)
Let cool.

Place one cup cooked lentils in bowl.
Combine the kale and the oil in a blender/Bullet/food processor. Blend until a smooth slurry.
Add to lentils.
Add agave/maple syrup, vanilla, raisins, chia, and all other ingredients.
Mix until flours are well incorporated.
Let chill in refrigerator a few minutes until the oven is heated to 375 degrees.

Using a teaspoon, place about two inches apart on baking sheet. Flatten with a fork coated in flour so it won’t stick.

Bake for about 17 minutes until bottom is golden brown and the top is firm.
Let cool on wire rack.
YUM!

***Options: Of course if your pantry is more well stocked than mine, you can def add grated apples, coconut, and other dried fruit and nuts.

 

 

 

 

The Accidental Brownie #vegan

Upon my return from a week-long visit with Angel Boy 2.0, I arrived to an empty refrigerator and pantry. (Don’t worry, there was wine waiting for me, so it wasn’t a complete disaster.)

I was JONESIN’ for ANYTHING chocolate and simply didn’t feel like going to the store.

Instead, I scoured the cabinets to see what ingredients might jump out to create something at least halfway edible.

Whew! I found cocoa which was a MAJOR score, because obvs without it there could be no joy . Next, I scrounged together about a scant cup of flour. Cool. And brown sugar.

Here’s what I did:

In a bowl, I combined 1.2 cup cocoa, 3/4 cup brown sugar, 3/4 cup flour, 1.2 cup veg oil, 2 tablespoons black coffee since I had no vanilla and coffee complements the flavor of chocolate, 1.2 teaspoon baking powder. I didn’t want to dirty a mixer, so I used a fork to whisk it all together. It was a bit dry, so I added another tablespoon of black coffee.

I placed paper inserts in muffin tins, filled them 2/3 of the way, sprinkled the top with a little Himalyan sea salt,  and baked for 20 minutes @ 350 degrees.

When I took them out, they were still soft on the inside like a molten lava cake.

BUT EFFING DELICOUS. OMG.

I’M NOT KIDDING.

I ate two of them in a very self-congratulatory mood, and stored the rest in the refrigerator.

Now here’s where the magic must have happened.

As they set, they transformed themselves into the CHEWIEST, most intensely CHOCOLATY, FUDGEY, yummy bites of JOY that you’ve ever tasted. If I were making them for an event, I’d frost them, but on their own, they were amazing. The little bit of sea salt adds a sophisticated touch on the palate.

TRUTH.

You. Must. Try. This. Recipe.

You’re welcome.

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I’m salivating for more! Surrounded by some of my very own rock art.

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#vegan #chcolate #brownies #pleaseshare

The Accidental Brownie

1/2 cup cocoa
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup veg oil
Mix well with a fork.
Add 3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Vanilla if you have it, or 2-3 tablespoons cold black coffee
Mix well. Spoon into lined muffin tins.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.
Let cool in pan and then finish in the refrigerator.
YUM.

Super Moist #Vegan Chocolate Cake With Amaretto Coffee Frosting

Since I now focus most of my baking to please Angel Boy 2.0 (the new and improved version), this was the winner of all the chocolate cakes I ever created, so I thought I’d share it again for those of you who do still currently turn on the oven and combine ingredients to conjure up lovely confections (not confessions).

At 15 months, AB 2.0 can’t have chocolate; for now he’ll have to be happy with sugarless teething biscuits and kale smoothies. 


No eggs and no dairy, yet this cake is super moist, fluffy, and fudge-tastic — with a hint of French roast coffee and almond-y Amaretto.

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I was inspired by a recipe I found in my mom’s old cookbook — as always, I transformed it into my own version.

I know I use Amaretto a lot, but I ran out of vanilla and it’s a great flavor enhancer with chocolate and coffee.

Moist #Vegan Chocolate Cake With Amaretto Coffee Frosting

  • 1/2 tsp.  salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup cocoa (unsweetened)
  • 1 1/4 cups flour (all-purpose)
  • 1 tsp. white vinegar
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract (or Amaretto or Grand Marnier)
  • 5 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 cup cold coffee or water (coffee is better with chocolate) or you could always use soy/almond/cashew/coconut milk.

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

1. Mix the first five dry ingredients in a bowl.
2. Make three shallow depressions in the dry ingredients.
3. Pour vinegar in one, vanilla/amaretto in the other, and vegetable oil in the third.
4. Pour coffee/water over all.
5. Mix well until smooth.

Grease a nine-inch pan. Bake on middle rack of oven for approximately twenty-five to thirty-five minutes.  Check with toothpick to make sure it comes out clean. Don’t over bake or it’ll dry out. Cool and frost.vegancake4

Amaretto Coffee Frosting
Three tablespoons softened vegan butter substitute (I use Earth Balance)
Three or four tablespoons cocoa
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
Amaretto or Grand Marnier or vanilla
Cold coffee

In a medium bowl, sift sugar and cocoa. Blend with vegan butter. Add 2 teaspoons Amaretto or other flavoring, and 3 tablespoons cold coffee, Blend until desired consistency. If too dry, add more coffee or Amaretto. If too wet, add more powdered sugar.
Frost cake and dust with sifted cocoa.

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7 Ways to Use Lovely Lemony Lemon Balm

The epic rains that soaked SoCal this year gave birth to a springtime of lush floral beauty and emerald lawns, something I don’t think I’ve experienced in the thirty-two years I’ve lived at Casa de Enchanted Seashells.

Before that, I lived in the area and there were definitely some heavy rains, but I didn’t notice nor did I appreciate the luxuriant plant life like I do now.

Flowers that previously lay dormant for seasons now burst forth in riotous color and perfume, like the lovely freesias, stock, Jupiter’s Beard, and borage.

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Most exciting for me is the herb garden.

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Just look at the abundance of this patch of lemon balm. Planted directly under a bedroom window, the lemony fragrance wafts up and in with even the slightest breeze.

Ahhhh.

Heavenly!

Lemon balm was traditionally used to uplift the spirits and to enhance memory. Some of its healing properties were spiritual in nature. This herb was used in spells to heal broken hearts and also to attract romantic love. It was believed that a lemon balm bag put under the pillow could help promote sleep and put in the bath would promote relaxation. (https://www.mountainroseherbs.com)

Easy to grow Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis), a member of the mint family, is considered a calming herb. It was used as far back as the Middle Ages to reduce stress and anxiety, promote sleep, improve appetite, and ease pain and discomfort from indigestion (including gas and bloating, as well as colic).  help heal wounds, and treat venomous insect bites and stings. Today, lemon balm is often combined with other calming, soothing herbs, such as valerian, chamomile, and hops, to promote relaxation. It is also used in creams to treat cold sores.
http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/lemon-balm

Lemon Balm is useful for nursing mothers that want to reduce overproduction of breast milk or when in the process of weaning and drying up milk supply. DIL added it to her sage tea when she weaned Angel Boy 2.0 and it worked!

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Add it to any dish that might benefit from a little lemony flavor, including cookies. I’m going to experiment on a vegan Lemon Balm & Lavender cookie, and will let you know how it turns out.

Seven Ways to Use Lemon Balm

1. Chop a couple tablespoons of lemon balm and add to your favorite salsa.
2. Chop together with cilantro in guacamole.
3. Lemon balm salad dressing is yummy and so easy! Combine your favorite oil with white balsamic or champagne vinegar, 2 TBS chopped lemon balm, pepper, Pink Himalayan sea salt, and whisk!
4. Pour hot water over lemon balm leaves. Let steep and enjoy!
5. I add a few sprigs to a pitcher of water with ice cubes and sliced lemon.
6. Lemon Balm Pesto:
2  cloves garlic
1/4 cup almonds or pine nuts (or both)
2  cups fresh basil
1/4 cup fresh lemon balm
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (don’t add if vegan)
2  TBS fresh lemon juice
1/4 to 1/2 cup olive oil
In food processor, add all ingredients except oil and pulse. Pour oil in steady but thin stream while pulsing until very smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste, along with dried red peppers if you like it spicy.

If you Google it, there are loads of DIY recipes on the internet and Pinterest using lemon balm, but I chose this one to share with you ‘cos it’s cool and seems fairly easy:

7. Lemon Balm Extract
Combine your favorite carrier oil (sweet almond oil or sunflower or grapeseed with chopped lemon balm leaves in a small jar. Make sure the leaves are submerged in the oil.Cover and place in a sunny spot for two weeks, turning/shaking every so often while still making sure the leaves are submerged. Strain out the leaves and the oil is now ready to use.

**While it’s generally considered safe for most people, lemon balm might inhibit thyroid function. If you’re on thyroid medication, check with your doctor or pharmacist before using internally. As always, if you’re pregnant, nursing, or have any other questions, talk with your doctor.“Melissa Officinalis produced a significant inhibition of TSH binding to its receptor and of antibody binding to TSH”http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14759065