Thursday, August 30, 2012

Double Chocolate Cupcakes with Fudgy Chocolate Frosting (Plant-Based)

It was a long, hot summer.  And it's hard to find things to do to keep myself entertained. One can only go to the library so many times, and I love surfing the web as much as the next person but my posterior eventually gets numb.  One of the things I did to entertain myself was watching a few documentaries, and one of my favorites was "Forks Over Knives".  It's a pretty compelling story of how our Western diet has led to the demise of our health (I know, that's not exactly a new revelation) and how we should eschew all things processed and animal based and solely eat a plant-based diet.  (I love the word eschew, I'm so glad I finally got to use it).  

Forks Over Knives: The Plant-Based Way to Health

I liked the documentary so much I ended up buying the companion cookbook, and found the recipe for these cupcakes in it.  I'll have to admit it's not quite as easy as opening up a box of cake mix, but it feels really good knowing you're having a treat that's not completely filled with fats, sugar, and preservatives

The family even agreed they were pretty good, and had no idea I was sneaking dried dates into their dessert.  Except for when I told them, I'm terrible at keeping secrets.

Here's the recipe for you should you feel led to try them...

Double Chocolate Cupcakes:
2 oz unsweetened chocolate
1 cup plant based milk (I used almond milk)
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
2/3 cup dry sweetener (prob not the best choice but I used splenda)
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour or spelt flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder 
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 and line 12 cup muffin tin.
Melt the chocolate in small bowl and set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together milk and vinegar. Let it sit for a few minutes until curdled. Stir in the dry sweetener, applesauce, vanilla, and melted chocolate.
In a seperate bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add the mixture to the wet ingredients, one half at a time, and beat until no large lumps remain.
Scoop the batter into the prepared pan, filling each cup 3/4 full. Bake 18 to 20 minutes. 

Fudgy Chocolate Frosting
1 cup boiling water
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups pitted dried dates
1 tbsp brown rice syrup*
pinch salt
1/2 tsp vanilla

Put boiling water and cocoa powder in a blender or food processor. Blend on high about 30 seconds. 
Add the dates, brown rice syrup, and salt to the blender. Blend until smooth. Add the vanilla and blend until combined.
Transfer mixture to an airtight container and chill completely, at least 3 hours until it becomes firm and spreadable. 

I found the brown rice syrup at Sprouts Farmers' Market, but didn't really want to pay 5+ bucks for just one tablespoon for this recipe. I had bought some of that new sweetener called Nectresse and just used some of that. Or you could just use splenda.

So, I'm a long way from eating only things produced from the ground, in fact I doubt I'll ever be totally there.  But adding more veggies and eating less meat feels like a step in the right direction.  

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Zucchini Scallion Cakes

Well hello's been a while, I know.  No excuses other than it's been so hot I just haven't cooked that much.  But I saw these little jewels on a great site called Meatless Monday and just had to give them a try.

We really are trying to cut down on the meat intake around here, with no small amount of resistance from the little people.  And they say old people are set in their ways...ha!  I get in a bit of a rut trying to think of veggie main dishes. One can only serve pinto beans so many times before having to hide in shame.  But these cakes are a great way to shake things up a bit.  Come to think of it I think they'd be great with pinto beans!

But seriously, they are easy and delicious.  I hope you'll get a chance to give them a try!

  • 1 medium zucchini, grated
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
Combine the grated zucchini, scallions, flour, sugar and salt together in a medium mixing bowl and toss to combine. Add the egg, lemon juice and zest and stir to combine.
Prepare a plate with a layer of paper towels. Place the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Scoop tablespoons of zucchini scallion batter out into the oil, taking care to ensure space between the mounds of batter. You may have to fry the cakes in batches. Cook for about 1 minute on each side, or until the cakes have browned on both sides and are semi-firm. Transfer to the paper towel lined plate and repeat until you are out of batter.