Tuesday, January 24, 2012

State Fair Caramel Apple Oatmeal

This morning, I made State Fair Caramel Apple Oatmeal from Kathy Hester's blog, Healthy Slow Cooking.  In actuality, I did not slow cook this oatmeal and I think it would have been better if I had.  I just didn't have an oatmeal "vision" for today's breakfast last night.  So, I cooked it in my rice cooker.
Here's a couple of interesting things about the rice cooker.  One, when cooking steel cut oats with almond milk (versus water), expect that the milk will "foam up" (and I do mean FOAM UP!!!) while cooking.  Two, don't close the lid of the rice cooker.  Rather, vent it with a wooden spoon laid across the top of the pot.  Three, when you don't think about items one and two, expect that the almond milk will boil over, come out of the top vent, and generally make a mess all over the kitchen counter.  (No, I did not take pictures of that!  ha!)  Trust me, next time I will be making this in my little 1½ quart slow cooker. Sheesh!
This is a very tasty morning oatmeal dish.  I really liked it.  I will say that next time, I'll cut down on the brown sugar as it was a bit sweet for me.  Yes, I did add a touch of brown sugar for the picture (at the top), but this picture is without the added brown sugar and it was still just a tad sweet (but my sons would have loved it).  Of course, that could have been because I didn't slow cook it, but rather fast cooked it in my rice cooker.  I'll still add less brown sugar and see how that is because I did love the flavoring.

If you haven't visited Kathy's blog to explore her 40 recipes for steel cut oats, you need to visit it and start exploring Love Your Oatmeal Celebration.  Kathy has non-oatmeal recipes on her blog, too!  I have her cookbook, The Vegan Slow Cooker, and love that, too!

And now, a request ... Gateway Pet Guardians in St. Louis has been feeding homeless dogs and cats that live on the streets of East St. Louis for years.  You can visit the blog here and read about the wonderful things they have done and see videos of Pj feeding the cats and dogs, something she has done daily for years.  Gateway is one of many competing for a cash award from Monsanto.  Monsanto may not be your favorite corporation, but please go to the competition website and vote for Gateway Pet Guardians.  It's the animals that will benefit from your vote.  Currently, GPG is in 3rd place, which could mean $5,000 to them.  If we can get them to first place, it would mean $15,000.  Please vote daily. The voting doesn't end until January 29.  The more votes GPG gets, the closer they will come to 1st place and the more good these animal angels can do for homeless dogs and cats.  Thank you! :)

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Eggless Nog Pancakes

I bought Soy Nog for the first time this year.  I used to like drinking Egg Nog, within moderation. I wanted the coconut milk version, but didn't see it at Whole Foods.  (I'm sure it was there and I just missed it.)  So, I bought Soy Nog.  OK, not only did I buy one quart, I bought two quarts.  Never mind that I haven't had any in years.  I'm not sure why I thought I'd drink so much of it. Good thing for me, the Soy Nog doesn't expire until January 30, 2012.  
I wanted to make baked Soy Nog French toast, but I couldn't find a recipe I liked and I didn't want to botch one up.  So, I decided that I would alter a vegan pancake recipe.  I used the Vegan Pancake recipe by the Happy Herbivore as my base.  I've not made the basic pancake recipe, so I'm not sure how those turn out.  Perhaps that should have been my first step.
I don't "measure" my flour or other dry ingredients that are in "cup" measurements.  I weigh those as I feel it gives a better result because weighing ingredients is more consistent.  The pancakes were too dense for my liking.  Even given my weighing the ingredients, I think using the whole wheat pastry flour was much too heavy for these pancakes.  Could be that I didn't use any water, but used all Soy Nog.  I'll try these again sometime (read: this December), but make a few alterations to try to get a lighter, fluffier pancake. Below is my recipe.

Eggless Nog Pancakes

8.50 ounces whole wheat pastry flour (equivalent to 2 cups)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Whisk dry ingredients together in a large bowl.

1 3/4 cup Soy Nog (can use 1/2 cup water for part of the Soy Nog)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla 
2 tablespoons maple syrup

Combine wet ingredients in a small bowl.  Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients to mix.  Let batter rest for a few minutes.  Heat griddle pan (heat medium high).  Use 1/4 cup ladle to pour batter onto to skillet. Cook for a couple of minutes and then flip.
Because the batter was so dense, it didn't "bubble" like regular pancakes, so I had to watch the pancakes more closely so they wouldn't overcook.
The flavor was good.  I liked the subtle cinnamon/nutmeg flavor.  I do think a combination of a lighter flour and subbing some water for part of the Soy Nog would lighten up the density.  I much prefer a batter that is thinner and pours onto the griddle. This batter was so thick that I had to put it on the griddle and then spread it around.  If you like dense pancakes, this is definitely the recipe for you.
Jordan, January 20, 2012
On another note, here's a picture of Jordan playing in the snow on Friday evening.  We got SOCKED with snow on Friday, which meant a 2½ hour commute home for me.  I was so glad to be home.  I used my electric snow thrower shovel to make quick work of my driveway.  Gotta love the electric aspect of it!