Lately I've been experimenting with vegan baked goods. No, I'm not becoming a vegan (I could never betray bacon like that!) I'm just starting to prefer saving our dairy and eggs for eating alone. Most of the time, I don't even notice a difference. I'm definitely not feeling deprived, that's for sure (just ask my love handles, they'll agree)!
Today I was trying to think of an easy grab and go snack, using ingredients that we have on hand. I found this recipe, from allrecipes.com and tweaked it a little to eliminate the dairy and eggs. I also used whole wheat flour instead of regular flour, because I think it keeps you feeling full longer. I've italicized my changes, other than that it's the same as the allrecipes link.
Cranberry Oatmeal bars
1/2 cup melted margarine (I know there's margarine haters out there, but I love margarine. Not all brands of margarine are vegan, so be sure to check ingredients if you really care.)
1 heaping tbs. Soy flour (this, combined with the 1 tbs water, replaces an egg)
1 tbs water 1/3 cup brown sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 cup wheat flour 1/4 teaspoon baking powder 1/4 teaspoon baking soda 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teas nutmeg (I eliminated this, I didn't have any) 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice 3/4 cup dried cranberries 3/4 cup walnuts (I just didn't have pecans on hand)
3/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease 11x7 inch baking pan. 2. Pour melted butter into a mixing bowl, and beat in the Soy flour and water, brown sugar, and vanilla extract. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice together in a separate mixing bowl. Stir the flour mixture into the butter mixture until thoroughly blended. Mix in the cranberries, walnuts, and oats until evenly blended. Press mixture into prepared baking dish. 3. Bake in preheated oven until top is dry and edges slightly pull away from the sides of the pan, 13 to 15 minutes. Cool before cutting into squares.
Also, I used a 11x15 pan and it was still too big. It's easier to get the bars out of the pan if they aren't touching the sides. The batter will smell...bad. Sort of like chewed up alfalfa hay (if you're a horse person, you know what that smells like) but never fear! Once these are cooked they smell and taste amazing. Not at all like alfalfa.
The other day at the grocery store I noticed that whole chickens were ridiculously inexpensive, so I picked two up. I figured that for .79 cents a pound, I could get over my poultry-on-the-bone phobia.
I started by looking at allrecipes.com for ideas. Nothing was exactly what I was looking for, so I created my own recipe. I didn't take pictures of the process because I spent too long looking for recipes and had to rush though prep.
First, I named my chicken Leroy. I don't know why, I just felt like I should give him a little dignity. Then I pulled out Leroy's guts, washed and dried him, and plopped him into a pan. It turns out Leroy was a little bit of a slut, so I tied his legs together with string. That'll teach him!
Next I preheated the oven to 450, rubbed the Chicken with Olive oil, Salt, Pepper and Cayenne. Then I sprinkled on some dried Rosemary (from Farmers market last summer) and some fresh Oregano, Thyme, and Dill from my Aerogarden. It's the first I've used my Aerogarden, (a Christmas gift from IL's) so that was exciting. I also shoved a little oregano sprig up Leroy's bum, for tasty tasty flavor.
Then I chopped some Potatoes, Carrots, Onions, Garlic and a crimini mushroom (yes, one mushroom. It's all I had left!) and put them in the pan around the Chicken. Then I poured a can of Swanson Low Sodium broth over the whole thing, and tossed it into the oven. Then I wept, because I always forget which end of the onion to cut first to avoid the tears!
Looks yum, right? Okay, it doesn't look yum unless you're into Salmonella, but it looks like it will eventually be yummy! I was so excited to try my first chicken that I couldn't resist peeking into the oven every 5 minutes to watch bad, bad Leroy brown. Okay, that was a bad pun that I'd been planning this whole time, but I'm not sorry.
I will definitely make this again, especially since it looks fancy, but the price is right. This whole dinner cost less than $5. Amazing.
Chicken a la Leroy
1 whole Chicken
1 tbsp Olive oil
1/4 teas pepper
1/4 teas salt
1/4 teas Cayenne pepper
1/2 teas rosemary
Oregano, thyme, and dill to taste
2 large carrots
1/4 lg yellow onion
3 cloves garlic
1 crimini mushroom (or, you know, more if you got 'em)
Preheat oven to 450.
1. Pull guts and neck out of chicken cavity, and cut off fat flaps (mmm). Wash under cold water and dry. Put in a large pan.
2. Rub your clean chicken with Olive oil, and tie legs together
3. In a small cup, mix salt, pepper and cayenne. Rub mixture all over chicken.
4. Sprinkle on herbs, and shove some up the bum
5. Cut Vegetables into large chunks and place around chicken in pan. Grind some peppercorns over veggies
6. Pour can of chicken broth over everything
7. Cook at 450 for 20 minutes, then lower the temperature to 400 and cook for another 40 minutes or until temperature reads 180.