"Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take but by the moments that take your breath away?"

Author: Unknown

Sunday, May 01, 2016

Homemade Vegan Banana Nut Raisin Bread

    I was married 38 years ago and was given a wonderful Betty Crocker cookbook as a wedding present. I have used this book many times over the years. It has served me well.
    I loved the banana bread recipe it had but I can never leave anything without adding my personal touch to it, lol. So I added a bunch of spices to my recipe. The family loved it.
    Then 15 months ago, I became a plant based vegan. So my wonderful recipe got adapted again. It no longer resembles the original Betty Crocker  recipe, but is is still just as good as my adapted version. 
This just came out of my over and I added a smear of my vegan homemade butter while it was still hot.mmmm . Doesnt this make you want to lick the screen?
When creating vegan versions of recipes you eliminate eggs and have to find an appropriate substitute to bind everything and get a good rise. This is not always easy.  But as you can see this huge loaf has  a wonderful crown to it. For the egg substitution I used the very popular aquafaba. Aquafaba is simply the liquid form a can of beans or from your own cooked beans. I used chickpea liquid or navy beans. When I open a can I simply pour the liquid into an ice tray and freeze blocks and put them in a baggy for later use. This stuff works fantastic. No...you do not taste beans....not a hint! 



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Homemade Vegan Banana Bread
I adapted my Betty Crocker recipe many times in the past. Adding more spices etc. Today, since I have been vegan for about 15 months, I adapted my recipe to now make it vegan. It is a moist, almost fudgy bread loaded with raisins and nuts. So delicious when warm and lightly buttered.
Ingredients
  • 3 c All Purpose flour or sub in 1 c.  oat flour
  • 1/2 c granulated sugar
  • 1/2 c packed brown sugar
  • 3 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 TB apple sauce
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 TB apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 c nut milk of your choice
  • 3 TB aquafaba (liquid from can of beans such as chickpeas or navy)
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 3 medium very ripe bananas
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp optional almond flavoring
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1 c raisins
  • 1 c chopped walnuts or pecans
Instructions
Blend all but raisins and nuts. when batter is well combined, fold in nuts and raisins. Bake at 350◦ for 55-65 min for large pan, or 55-60 min for small pan. Insert knife into center to check if done. If it comes out clean its done, if you see some wet batter on knife bake for few minutes more and check again.
Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: Makes 1 lg loaf 9x5x3 or two small loaves 8.5x4.5x2.5

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Grand Kitchen Remodel. I Love It!

    We are all set for our family Christmas dinner this evening. There are still a few small things to do. Some drawers to build for inside the cabinets in the island and paint the bay window, and some new rugs and window treatments. Also a little more organizing. It turned out fantastic tho. Take a look....










Tuesday, December 01, 2015

HomeMade Non-dairy Yogurt

    As you may remember, I have been eating a plant based vegan diet. I can't say I have been craving cheese. I haven't. I have been wanting to try my hand at cheese making tho. My husband enjoys his grilled cheese and cheese on pizza. I found recipe online that someone shared and reduced size to make 3/4 to 1 cup.
1/4 cup cashews soaked overnight and drained.
1/4 cup water
1 probiotic capsule opened
3/4 tsp tapioca starch
After draining nuts. Put in blender with 1/4 cup water and tapioca starch. Blend on high till very smooth. Then place in a small crock in oven with a plate to loosely cover. NO HEAT just the light on. Leave overnight. Then place in refrigerator tightly covered for about 8-10 hrs. Recipe said to then drain in fridge for 4-8 hrs. But mine was thick enough without so I didn't. You can then add sweeteners or fruit of your choice. I tried it plain and thought it was slightly less tangy than greek yogurt, but very good. I also added some maple syrup and thoroughly enjoyed it. The original recipe called for two probiotic caps with 2 cups nuts and two cups water and 2 Tb tapioca starch. But I wanted to see if I liked it first. SO I made a  mini batch. Now off to finish my non-dairy mozzarella.


Almost Done!!

    We are finally nearing the end of this huge remodel. What I initially thought would only take a couple weeks to complete has morphed into a couple months. We still have to put the crown molding along the ceiling , mantle above the fireplace, white subway tile back splash, and shelves between the two glass front cabinets on the wall with the pantry. I think we  may also paint the bottom of the old wood table and the chairs white.
                                    This is a little peak into the kitchen from the living room.
                                 We still haven't found counter height stools that we like yet.
I still haven't gotten things put back in order from Thanksgiving dinner. Hence the two extra chairs and baby stroller. We dont have any babies right now but the grandchildren like using the stroller for their "babies", lo. When my husband gets the molding back up on my large bay then we will get it painted white.
                      The wood stove will get a nice heavy white mantle. Plus get cleared off lol.

The old pantry cabinet is located to the far left. The two glass front cabinets were original to the old kitchen as well but hubby built the base cabinets. We were going to just simply put white shelves between them then crown molding across the top making it look like one big hutch. Like HERE
                        Then we saw  Chip and Joanna do this kitchen on fixer upper HERE:
We love the rustic looking shelves with the black metal supports. I thought the black pipe might pull the black from the stove on the other end of the kitchen. So now we arent sure. We are kind of leaning to the simple white shelves tho to creat the country looking hutch.
            Above, we were testing out the look using my black sweeper hose and an old board,lol
My husband and I designed this wonderful range hood and he built it. We work together well like that. I know he can do anything I dream up,lol. We still have to do the pretty tile pattern we have planned for here and add some stamped tin to the inside upper part around the fan/light.

    I love these pretty crystal knobs. Real glass bought from ebay for .95 each. Cant beat that deal!
This is the end of the island. There is one thing I would have done different had we thought of it before it was built. I would have used wider boards for the top and bottom of the frames making up the corner legs so more showed once the moulding was in place. My wonderful guy also put me in a couple electric outlets in the ends of the island. These are so handy.
This is the front of the island cabinets that he built.They are not as difficult as they look when you have the right tools. Cheaper to build than buy the cheap particle board ones in stores even adding in the price of a Kreg jig for joining and a new router and router table. Just need some basic skills, a little internet research, and a little "Go For It..ness".  I love my new island!

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Its Finally All Coming Together!

     Things are finally getting put back together. Its taking a lot longer than I expected. I figured....take down a wall....paint a few cabinets....nothing to it. WRONG!
This setion of cabinets still has to have a board across the top joining the two upright cabinets with glass doors and three open shelves between. Then wide crown molding will go across all along the ceiling. These were all some of my original oak cabinets except the base cabinets below the glass front ones. This 7 ft section was built by my husband. He is still working on the drawers for it. This is my favorite section of the new kitchen. I love the lights hitting on the glass fronts.

This is just one of my old bar stools I set in place behind the island until I can find the ones I want. As you can see my husband still needs to finish the doors and drawers in it. This monster is about 4 ft x 8 ft. if you look back through behind the fridge you can get a glimpse of the living room.
He still needs to build the range hood with a shelf on the front and corbels that will go over the stove and hand the 12" cabinet between it and the right window.. Plus wide molding along the base of the island. I havent decided about curtains yet. I think I am leaning to something in grays and yellows. or I might just leave them open. who knows.

Just figured I would give you a sneak peek into how things are looking.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Proven Benefits of a Plant Based Diet

    As you know, I posted back in January of this year that I decided to start eating a vegetarian diet and also started juicing. Juicing was a tremendous help for weight loss and health. It is also extremely hard to start. The first 4-5 days the cravings are awful. Those cravings also prove just how addicting those chemical laden foods are. I juiced off and on for a month and lost about 30 lbs. I would have lost more if I could have been consistent. I also lost about 3 more lbs after that. The first of February I became mostly vegan. The days I dont adhere to it 100% are the days we eat out. Sometimes its can be a little hard at restaurants so I try not to stress about the non meat animal products.
     Since my kitchen has been destroyed (remodeling), so has my diet suffered. Too much fast food, processed foods, sugar and salt also crept back into my diet. I started juicing again for about 3 days and started slipping again. Its just so inconvenient trying to find things, working with minimal counter space etc. Plus the  cravings were horrendous. Which again backs up the addicting effects of all these unhealthy foods.
    While I was eating mostly plant based (especially while juicing ), my knees quit hurting, heart burn stopped, and more energy. Over-all just feeling so much better. The heart burn issue I have had several times a day and night with increasing incidence of reflux since I started having babies. However, while watching my diet it stopped completely. For about 8 months!
    Last night I rolled over in bed, still half asleep and  gastric reflux hit and choked me when I inhaled some. Disgusting I know, but it has to be said.  I have also been having more episodes of heartburn, and a bloated feeling. My knees feel weak and painful. Its not wishful thinking, just a coincidence or anything else. I have proven to myself this works. No question about it. I am still eating vegetarian, but mostly vegan but not  plant based totally. You see, even a twinkie  or an oreo is vegetarian. Potato chips are vegan. NONE of these are Plant Based!
                                                          That's the difference!
                                     I WILL get back on track. I have to!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Slow but Sure In The Kitchen

  Work is still coming along in the kitchen remodel. Right now we are taking care of little things. Hubby has to finish piecing in some areas of the wood floor. Yesterday, in attempt to save some money, we saved all our antique gold hinges and re-use them. However I wanted a nickle color. This old discolored gold wasnt going to get it. So we strung all 20-30 hinges on a line and spray painted them. The screws I pushed into an old box a window cam in so they stood on end and he sprayed the tops of them. Then yesterday after they dried. We hung some doors. Now its starting to look like a kitchen again.

 It's coming along. I will so be glad when its done.
Oh, I forgot to mention hubby has started building the extra cabinets we need. ALL SOLID OAK.  So much better than the particle board stuff in the store. He is doing a fantastic job. This is his first time building fine cabinets. Wont be his last. Lol.

look how much better they look.
We used a special spray paint by Rustoelum.


Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Still Painting......

    This shellac is some tough stuff. I have to go buy some denatured alcohol. I couldnt get it off. One of these days I may learn to wear gloves. Especially