Homemade Bread

Delicious bread made from scratch! Easy and fun!

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So my sister and I have been experimenting with bread recipes lately and I think we have found the easiest and yummiest one yet! In our recipe we added Chia seeds, Flax, and Rosemary from my garden. It will take about 10-15 minutes to prepare the dough, an hour and 20 minutes of rising time, and 35 minutes to bake. So give yourself enough time, I cleaned my kitchen and did a load of laundry while it rested. Alrighty, let’s get started!

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups hot water (between 103-108)
  • 1/2 tsp agave, sugar, or honey
  • 1 1/2 tsp dry active yeast (instant didn’t work for me)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp oil (your choice)
  • flour of your choice (I used whole wheat and added vital gluten)
  • extras (herbs, spices, dried fruit, grains, oats)
  • parchment paper

 

In a measuring cup add sweetener to hot water and stir to dissolve, then add the yeast and gently whisk to incorporate. Cover and let sit for 5-7 minutes, it should double in size and be very frothy. While it is activating, prepare your flour and other ingredients.

 

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Yeast after 7 minutes

 

 

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Flour and Vital Gluten mixed

Pour yeast mixture into a glass bowl and add 1/2 cup of flour and whisk well to activate the gluten. Then add the salt, oil, and another 1/2 cup of flour. Once you mix that together, now is a good time to add any extras you might want; the dough is still liquidy enough to properly incorporate but not so thin it all sinks to the bottom. Continue adding flour and stirring until it starts to thicken, you’ll want to switch over to a wooden spoon at this point. Just alternate adding flour and stirring; eventually, you’ll want to retire the wooden spoon and use your hands. When the dough stops sticking to your hands, it is ready. Dust a flat surface with flour and gently knead the dough to really get the gluten proteins activated, approximately 100 times. rinse out your bowl and coat with whatever oil you used in the bread, place dough ball into bowl and flip to coat ball in oil.

 

Allow dough to rest for 40 minutes, covered with a dish towel in a warm area. It should rise significantly, doubling its size. All you have to do at this point is “punch” the dough down a few times and then cover again and allow it to rest for another 40 minutes. At this point, you want to place dough onto a flat dusted surface and knead out the air. If it sticks, just add a little four.

 

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Dough is ready for the oven
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Ready for the oven

 

Now you can cut your dough into separate pieces and shape into “logs” or balls. Let your creativity shine through, make into fun shapes or add to a loaf or bundt pan. I used parchment paper, but you can use a Silpat or simply spritz the pan with oil. You can use an egg wash or if vegan, you can spritz with water and add seeds, herbs, or spices to the tops of your loaves; I also like to cut slits into my dough. When the dough is placed on baking sheet, allow it to rest for a few minutes. This is when I like to get the oven preheating. Set to 375 and once it is heated, the dough should have risen a little more. Place on the center rack of your oven and set the timer for 35 minutes. Toggle your time based on the size of your dough, a little more for larger loaves. If you’re unsure whether the bread is fully cooked, you can knock on the bottom. If it sounds hollow it’s ready to go!

 

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Finished baking, ready to eat!

 

 

Vegan Avo-dillas

Cheese free and flavor-filled “quesadillas”!

Today I broke my taste buds. While rummaging around my kitchen for something to eat, I realized I felt too lazy to prepare and cook an entire meal and I really wasn’t in the mood for a salad or plain sandwich (although, no sandwich is really plain now that I have my Just Mayo). So I assessed what I had laying around and I saw some avocados, tomatoes, and some tortillas I made yesterday (I will post that recipe below). I recently acquired some Just Mayo Chipotle, so I thought….hmmm how would this taste as “guac”…. well, it is AMAZING. This is a super simple, absolutely mind-blowingly delicious meal that will forever be a go-to for my family.  Lets get started!

You will need:

 

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Ingredients
  • 1 Small Avocado
  • 1 Roma Tomato
  • Just Mayo Chipotle
  • Nutritional Yeast  (optional)
  • Tortillas

In a bowl mix avocado and Chipotle mayo, smashing until the avocado is smoothish. Chop tomato into small pieces and stir into avocado mixture. If the Tortillas are fresh, I spread them with the filling and eat immediately; if they are previously made or store bought I simply toss them onto a hot stove eye and heat until browned on both sides. Then I add the filling between two tortillas sprinkle with nutritional yeast and BAM! Consume immediately.

Tortilla Recipe:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  1. In a large bowl, combine flour and salt. Stir in water and oil. Turn onto a floured surface; knead 10-12 times, adding a little flour or water if needed to achieve a smooth dough. Let rest for 10 minutes.
  2. Divide dough into eight portions. On a lightly floured surface, roll each portion into a 7-in. circle.
  3. In a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray, cook tortillas over medium heat for 1 minute on each side or until lightly browned. Keep warm by folding into parchment paper and covering with a plate.

Dehydrated Fruit “Rollup”

Who needs store bought, corn syrup laden fruit rollups when you can make it yourself!

Today I made the most AMAZING dehydrated fruit snack! Some call it fruit roll up and some call it fruit leather. Whatever you choose to call it, it is extremely easy and comes out MUCH tastier than anything you could buy in-store. Store bought varieties come with a host of ingredients my family wishes to avoid, including Corn Syrup, Dried Corn Syrup, Sugar, Partially Hydrogenated Cottonseed Oil to name a few. By simply making it yourself, you have full control of what ends up in your body. What I have made today is Raw and Vegan, though there are recipes out there that call for cooking the puree before dehydrating.

Here is my experience, please forgive the lack of photos– I wasn’t aware I would be making a blog when I began. Let’s get started!

You’ll need:

  • Blender or food processor
  • Fruit (whatever you have)
  • Stevia, agave, maple syrup or honey if not vegan
  • Parchment paper or Silpat
  • Spoon
  • Food Dehydrator or Oven

First, pick the fruit you would like to use. I went with strawberry and pears because that’s what I had on hand, but you can really use anything. But strawberry and peaches are amazing; peach adds a sweetness and texture that other fruits just can’t match. Apples are delicious when mixed with a little plum and cinnamon, it’s like apple pie!  Inspiration can be found HERE. (I also added one packet of stevia to my puree because my strawberries were a little on the tart side and I was really making this for my 2-year-old.)

The *dehydrator I happen to have is a cheap, no name-brand circular type. It works extremely well, as long as I am aware of what kinds of food I am dehydrating and which layer of the tier I place things (bottom layers are closer to the heating element and tend to get dry faster). I always like to periodically rotate the tiers, so that I can ensure they’re drying out at an even pace. When using this kind of dehydrator for fruit leather, I find the use of parchment paper extremely helpful. I like to cut and fit my parchment before I even get started on the fruit. One of my concerns with using parchment is the lack of air flow up and out of the machine, which would cause steaming and gooping. My elegant solution to this issue is making the parchment just a little too small for the rings. I cut it just enough to allow air flow up and around the sides. It worked very well and I have not had any issues with steam or goopy fruit. I really like to multi-purpose my dehydrator by making a variety of items at once, which is where my concern about goopy fruit comes in.

Wash and dry your fruit and prepare them in the food processor or blender by cutting off the tops, peeling, or coring; whatever your fruit choice deems. I cut my pears into largish chunks after I peeled them. Once in the blender, pulse until a chunky consistency, then let it fly! Allow it to run until it becomes a smooth puree, I let mine go for about 45 seconds to a minute. Once a smooth puree is achieved, pour with your blender or use a spoon to ladle the puree onto the parchment ring (already placed in dehydrator tray). I like to make a thick layer due to the thinning of the leather as it dries out. Start out with too thin a layer and you can end up with a somewhat crunchy leather (I made this mistake).

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Strawberries ready to puree
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Apples/Pears in lemon water and Strawberries

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Poured Puree onto parchment tray

I allowed my Fruit Leather to dehydrate for 8-12 hours, it depends on how thick you made the layer of puree. You can kind of eyeball it, touching the thickest spots to see how soft they are.

And Voila! The finished product!

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Finished, but a little too thin. 

 

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A little thin, but ready to eat
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Perfectly peeled off
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Folded and bagged

 

 

*If you’re using an oven to dehydrate, follow these instructions. Make sure to line your baking sheet with parchment or a Silpat just as if you were using a dehydrator.

How to make Meatloaf Seitan

So recently I have been experimenting with something I have really come to love: Seitan. It is, as I am sure you’re aware, a vegan substitute for meat that is comparable to the real thing. It is a dough made up of Vital Wheat Gluten– made from flour that has all the starch removed, leaving behind all the gluten. Though it may seem obvious, I will note this is not something anyone with sensitivities to gluten should make or consume.

Here is the collection of ingredients you’ll need
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Finished Seitan with side of Mashed Potatoes and Gravy
Slice of “meatloaf” with a bit of gravy (oops)
Roasted carrots
The flavor of seitan is out of this world and depending on your preference of seasonings, can taste like chicken, beef, or even turkey! The variety I am making today is meatloaf; I will be serving it with *mashed potatoes from scratch topped with vegan mushroom gravy and roasted carrots. This recipe is loved by my non-plant based husband and my 2 year old (a somewhat picky eater). I hurriedly filmed a 2 part Facebook video which you can find here and here of the whole process. This is my first attempt at a Facebook live cast, as you can definitely tell.. don’t judge!

Here is a list of everything you’ll need:

Dry Ingredients

2 cups vital wheat gluten

1 cup nutritional yeast

1 Tbls garlic powder

1 Tbls onion powder

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp cumin

½ tsp oregano

½ tsp pepper

Pinch of salt (aminos are salty)

Wet Ingredients

1½ cups vegetable broth (low sodium)

¼ cup or a little less of coconut aminos

3 Tbls ketchup

1 Tbls BBQ sauce

Instruction Summary 

Preheat oven to 325 degrees

Stir dry ingredients in a bowl

Wisk all wet ingredients in measuring cup

Slowly pour wet ingredients into the dry, stirring well.

Place dough on flat surface and knead gently for 2 or 3 minutes

Allow dough to rest for 5

Line your pan with parchment or foil and add seitan, pushing down to form of loaf pan

Bake

How to:

 You will need two bowls, one large bowl for all your dry stuff, and a smaller bowl for the wet. I used a measuring cup for my wet ingredients, so I could easily pour it into the dry.

It will come together rather easily, you should incorporate the wet ingredients slowly checking the consistency as you go. I didn’t bother with a wisk, I used a scraper spatula to mix. The dough should be moist but not sticky.

Put dough ball onto a clean flat surface and knead a few times. If you need to, flour your surface lightly. After maybe a couple minutes of kneading I put it back into the bowl and let it rest for a few while I prepared the cooking implements.

One of the cool things about Seitan is the variety of “meats” you can create. As I mentioned before, depending on the spices you use to season, it can take the flavor of whatever meat you are intending to create. You can also achieve this by the way in which you cook the dough. Steaming in a parchment pouch, boiling in plastic wrap (I avoid this method), baking, frying… the possibilities are endless! This recipe calls for baking in a foil or parchment lined loaf pan. This will give it the familiar meatloaf shape and texture. Not to mention, I didn’t have to clean anything extra- I just threw away the parchment paper.

Line your loaf pan and add the raw dough. Push it down into the container to distribute. Bake at 325• for about 1 1/2 hours. Remove cover for the last 5 or so minutes to “crustify” the top.

*Mashed potatoes:

5 quartered potatoes of any variety you like boiled until fork tender. Mash with almond milk and vegan butter until desired texture is achieved.

*Gravy:

Heat 1/4th cup olive oil in a sauce pan on medium-medium low heat; saute sliced baby portobella  mushrooms, chopped onions and cook for approx 8 minutes (You want them to be soft and beginning to brown a bit). Add 4 tbsp of flour and wisk quickly until it becomes paste like. Let cook for a minute or two, until the flour starts to take on a golden color constantly stiring and scraping with the wisk. Slowly add almond milk, stirring until it becomes thin. Allow to nearly boil, basically a hard simmer until it begins to thicken. You want it to completely coat a spoon, this takes about 10-15 minutes. Stir regularly to avoid the bottom sticking or burning. Once it has thickened, I like to blend it until smooth. If it doesn’t thicken the way you would like, you can whip up a slurry with arrowroot starch or corn  starch (1 tbsp starch with 3 tbsp water mixed) and stir that into the blended gravy. Put it back in the pot and allow it to start to bubble a little.

*Roasted Carrots:

Cut lengthwise and lightly coat with olive oil. Add salt and pepper and roast at 400 for 15 mins.

I’ve Made A Blog!

Get to know me and see what this blog is about

Well, hello there. My name is Heather and this blog will be dedicated to whatever happens to be going on at the moment. Right now, my primary focus is FOOD! Vegan food, to be more specific. I have always been interested in cooking (and eating), but only when I switched to a vegetarian diet did I begin to think maybe I should be sharing these recipes and experiences. When I took the steps toward fully vegan, it reignited my passions for food.. so here we are. I will link a few facebook videos and posts once I get a chance. Life with a toddler and a puppy can be full, so I will have to make this a priority.

Let me tell you a little about myself. I am a wife and mother from the south eastern coast of Florida, my husband Josh is not a vegan and our 2 year old son Elliott kind of eats whatever is given. Our future plan is to buy an RV and ride off into the sunset, so this may eventually evolve into some kind of travel and food blog. I have a few partial recipes on my personal Facebook page here, in the photo album titled vegan/vegetarian food. This is the link for my blog page on Facebook. I’m really just kicking this off with a hope and a prayer and this will likely be edited some time in the future.. But for the sake of getting moving, I’m going for it.