Decadent Gluten-Free Vegan Baking

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It seems odd to use the word decadent in the same sentence as gluten-free, vegan and baking. But after reading the wonderful new cookbook by Cara Reed that I received to review I realized that all things are possible. Her recipes really are decadent and delicious! And not just for gluten-free or vegan followers, they are delicious for everyone. At first the whole gluten-free thing felt like a fad. Of course it was a necessity for those suffering from Celiac disease. But so many others got on the bandwagon as the latest new diet. And the baked goods in the beginning were nothing to write home about. That is so much different with this wonderful new cookbook Decadent Gluten-Free Vegan Baking!

The author Cara Reed is also the creator the the popular site Fork and Beans. Her wonderful site features gluten-free vegan recipes and receives over 10,000 hits a day. Her blog was voted one of the Top 50 Vegan Blogs by the Institute for the Psychology of Eating. With credentials like that you know her recipes will be good. And they are great. To quote Cara: “Maybe you are completely new to baking without gluten, eggs, and dairy and have no idea where to start. Or maybe you have a few years of experience under your belt and are looking for new recipes to add to your collection. Wherever you are at I guarantee you that, like it was for me, persistence and tenacity will lead you to a better understanding of this world of gluten-free vegan baking. Anything is possible if you are willing to commit. Don’t be shy, grab a hold of my hand and believe me when I say you can so do this!”

Her new cookbook contains both savory and sweet recipes and all are delicious. How could you go wrong with Sweet Almond Braided Bread, Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake with Chocolate Graham Cracker Crust, Pumpkin Cupcakes or Key Lime Cheesecake Bars.

Gingerbread Men
Nothing screams the holidays like a big batch of these cookies filling your home with the amazing aroma of ginger and molasses. This roll-out dough is not only beautifully textured, but it also tastes great straight from the bowl (or so I have heard) . . .
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Ingredients
½ c/112 g vegan butter
2½ c/413 g Cara’s All-Purpose Blend (page 166)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground cloves
½ c/50 g granulated sugar
½ c/176 g unsulphured molasses
1 Tbsp/7 g flaxseed meal plus 3 Tbsp/45 ml warm water
1 batch Royal Icing (page 158)
Instructions
½ c/112 g vegan butter
2½ c/413 g Cara’s All-Purpose Blend (page 166)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground cloves
½ c/50 g granulated sugar
½ c/176 g unsulphured molasses
1 Tbsp/7 g flaxseed meal plus 3 Tbsp/45 ml warm water
1 batch Royal Icing (page 158)
In a large bowl, beat the vegan butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed about 30 seconds or till softened.
Whisk together the flour blend, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon and cloves. Beat half of this flour mix, sugar, molasses and flaxseed soaked in water into the butter. Beat until thoroughly combined. Stir in the remaining flour.
Divide the dough in half and create 2 balls. Place in a bowl, cover and chill for about 3 hours or until easy to handle.
Preheat oven to 375°F/190°C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
On a lightly floured surface, roll each half of dough between 2 pieces of parchment paper into ⅛–inch/3-mm thickness. Create shapes into the dough using the cookie cutter of your choice. Place 1 inch/2.5 cm apart on the prepared cookie sheet.
Bake for 7 to 10 minutes until the edges are lightly browned and firm. Cool on the baking sheet for 1 minute before transferring cookies to a wire rack. Decorate with my Royal Icing.
Notes
CARA’S TIP: While you are rolling out a portion of the dough, keep the remainder in the fridge. The longer the dough sits out, the stickier it becomes, causing it to be a hassle to work with. The chilling process allows it to be workable.
foodandfondmemories.com http://www.foodandfondmemories.com/
 This recipes will surely tickle your tastebuds. It did mine. Plus gingerbread men are so cute. What part do you bite off first? For me it’s always head first, but that’s how I dive into everything.

Decadent Gluten-free Vegan Gingerbread Men

Decadent Gluten-free Vegan Gingerbread Men

Disclaimer: This cookbook was sent to me free of charge to review but the opinions are 100% my own.

 

Urbangrains Pomegranate Sauce

Urbangrains Pomegranate Sauce Photo Credit: Sandy Axelrod

Urbangrains Pomegranate Sauce
Photo Credit: Sandy Axelrod

Fresh Ingredients for an Amazing Side Dish Photo Credit: Sandy Axelrod

Fresh Ingredients for an Amazing Side Dish
Photo Credit: Sandy Axelrod

I am thrilled to announce that this is my very first sponsored post! The wonderful people at Urbangrains.net have asked me to try some of their products and help them promote their amazing goods. Urbangrains states that they are a “spunky, imaginative ambient food producer aimed at offering high quality, occasionally unusual foods, using only natural ingredients, with the least processing possible. The first such product I received was their Pomegranate Sauce. I was hooked at first taste. My mind raced with item to try it on but since I was making spareribs and vegetables for dinner I decided to add a spoonful or two to my light sautéed veggies. Wow! Quite impressive. The fruity flavor addition added a bit of umami to the dish and coaxed so much flavor out of the vegetables that I just could not believe it.

Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes Added to Vegetable Medley Photo Credit: Sandy Axelrod

Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes Added to Vegetable Medley
Photo Credit: Sandy Axelrod

Add the Magic - Urbangrains Pomegranate Sauce Photo Credit: Sandy Axelrod

Add the Magic – Urbangrains Pomegranate Sauce
Photo Credit: Sandy Axelrod

The label on the jar states that this is a 100% pure product of Greece. This magic potion consists of fresh pomegranate juice, grape must syrup, apple, onion, balsamic vinegar and salt. Nothing more. No preservatives or chemicals of any kind. I think that is very appealing now that we know the damaging effects chemicals have on our bodies. But it is the flavor that really drew me to this product. And its versatility. Although I haven’t tried all of these ways yet; I know it would be great on pork, beef, chicken and cheese. Try bringing a small wheel of brie to room temperature, spread some of Urbangrains Pomegranate Sauce on the top and serve with crackers or bread. The tang of the sauce combined with the creaminess of the brie is absolutely delicious!

Vegetable Medley with Urbangrains Pomegranate Sauce and Asian Spareribs Photo Credit: Sandy Axelrod

Vegetable Medley with Urbangrains Pomegranate Sauce and Asian Spareribs
Photo Credit: Sandy Axelrod

Be sure to go on line to Urbangrains.net and order some for yourself. Be sure to leave a comment and let me know how you love it.

Disclaimer: I am being compensated for writing this post, but the opinions I shared are 100% my own.

365 Vegan Smoothies

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New Book by Kathy Patalsky

I have been very fortunate to receive some fabulous books, hot off the press, to review. Not the least of these was 365 Vegan Smoothies. What better time to have a different smoothie every day. It summer, so a cool smoothie is refreshing. It’s bathing suit season, so losing a few extra pounds is a fabulous bonus. Plus a myriad of fresh, juicy, ripe fruit is abundant at farm stands and supermarkets.

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Blueberry Beginning Smoothie

The author of 365Vegan Smoothies is a writer and photographer. Kathy Patalsky is also the blogger behind the very popular blog Healthy-Happy-Life.com. Inside the book the smoothies are categorized by the predominant benefit of the smoothies. Each month of recipes is for different purpose such as: detox, energizing, slim-down, strengthening, calming, brain boosting, healthy-digestion, healthy-heart, anti-aging, mood boosting, immunity-boosting, and beauty-boosting. It shows you how delicious smoothies are when made with a rainbow of fruits and vegetables.

I learned so much about the benefits of fruits and vegetables. If I ate with health in mind at every meal I would need no vitamin supplements of any kind. I have to admit that I am too much of a carnivore to live on a plant based diet alone. But I do like the idea of having a vegan smoothie for breakfast or lunch. And Kathy’s recipes are fabulous! I started my smoothie journey with the Peanut Butter Banana Swirl Shake on page 121 in the chapter of slim-down smoothies. WOW! Was it ever rich and creamy. It was like eating delicious decadent ice cream for lunch. It was so thick it wouldn’t even go through my thick straw. No worries, I ate it with a spoon and got every last tasty bit. I was full. And it stayed with me until dinner time! I have been going through the book and trying a different smoothie each time. Although I must confess I have repeated the first one a couple of times. I’m hooked. And the biggest bonus of all is that I have lost nine pounds with feeling deprived one iota. I highly recommend you treat yourself to this fabulous new book. Taste the smoothies and boost your health in the process.

Watermelon Frosty – Slim Down
Serves 1
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Ingredients
2 cups frozen watermelon cubes
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
½ banana
1 teaspoon maple or agave syrup
½ to 1 cup coconut water
boost it: pinch of cayenne
Instructions
Combine the watermelon, lime juice, banana, sweetener and ½ cup coconut water in a blender. Turn on blender to low speed to get things moving. Slowly add more coconut water and blend, increasing the speed to high until the mixture blends into thick, frosty bliss.
Notes
The entire recipe has only 201 delicious and healthy calories.
foodandfondmemories.com http://www.foodandfondmemories.com/
This book was sent to me free of charge to review, but the opinions are 100% my own.