Monday, February 18, 2013

A Valentine's Vegan Apple Cake

vegan apple pecan cake
Our SSFC theme last week was to make a sweet treat for Valentine's Day. One of my goals since last new year's has been to improve my baking skills, and I've been experimenting with vegan recipes. I am not vegan but I frequently use non-dairy butters and almond milk to give my body a break from dairy. It seems to help with my allergies. I'm also intrigued at the thought of making tasty desserts without butter or cream. We have a relative who is allergic to eggs and dairy, and he's usually left out when everyone else is enjoying dessert, so I want to make desserts that he can enjoy too. Actually, he has recently been tested again, and his egg allergy is gone, but he still has the dairy allergy.

I got this recipe for an iced vegan apple pecan cake from The Kind Diet, Alicia Silverstone's book about vegan eating. The recipe actually calls for walnuts, but I bought pecans by mistake. Here are the ingredients:

apple cake ingredients
Flour, sugar, canola oil, salt, baking soda, apple cider vinegar, cinnamon, vanilla, pecans, and apples. The apples were my only locally sourced ingredient. They came from West Virginia and I bought them at the farmers' market.

diced apples for the cake
The cake turned out great! It's like a very soft apple-cinnamon french toast. The oil kept everything moist and I didn't miss the butter at all. These apples are very sweet, so I used 1/4 cup less sugar than the recipe called for, but next time I'll probably use 1/2 cup less because the cake turned out really, really sweet. And can I tell you how divine the house smelled?? There is nothing like the smell of apples and cinnamon baking.

I've been eating squares just as they are, but I was thinking about cutting off a huge block and putting in a bowl with almond milk. I think that would be really good for breakfast.

Although I made this cake for my sweetheart, this is probably something I would make next time we head out to my father-in-law's.
Click on the SSFC badge to see what other challenge participants are making this week. I thought my blog friend Emily's idea to make sweet potato and kale soup was a clever way to do the assignment. I hope you had a lovely Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 11, 2013

SSFC: Baked Turkey with Tomato, Basil, Mozzarella

Baked Turkey with Tomato, Basil, and Mozzarella
Hello friends! I don't mean to keep taking breaks from the inter-webs, but stuff just keeps happening to get in the way of my play time. Nothing serious, just the usual, busy life stuff. I can't believe we're almost at mid-February! I realized this morning that I'm about 6 weeks overdue for a haircut. I have a shaggy mess on my head and have been wearing my hair in a pony-tail since Christmas. :(

Fried potatoes

I haven't done much in the way of garden prep yet, but I have been keeping up with the challenge to incorporate more local food into my everyday meals. I've also been busy cleaning out my freezer of all the produce I stored last fall. I think we're doing really well on this! Recently for dinner we had baked turkey breasts with oven-dried tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella melted on top, along with delicious, salty fried potatoes and summer squash.

Baked Turkey with Tomato, Basil, and Mozzarella

Turkey breasts - Ecofriendly Foods 
Potatoes - farmers' market, storage
Summer squash - my garden, frozen (slightly freezer-burned, unfortunately)
Oven-dried tomatoes - my garden (oven-dried last September)
Basil - my garden, frozen into cubes with olive oil last summer
Mozzarella - Blue Ridge Dairy

It was nice to have turkey not at Thanksgiving. It was also nice to eat tomatoes in the middle of winter, and they retained the yummy herb flavor from when I dried them in the oven. The house smelled so good when it was baking! Same for the basil--I'd never frozen basil into cubes before, and I was happily surprised that it retained the fresh basil flavor. The only disappointment was the summer squash, which were a little mealy. I guess they had been in the freezer too long? Overall, though, a very good meal!

Did all of you on the East Coast do all right with that storm that blew through over the weekend? Here in DC we got lucky, just some rain and wind.