Monday, April 28, 2008

Navy Bean Banana Cake

I really really was craving something banana walnut today. I was also really craving something along the lines of Black Bean Brownies or White Bean Blondies (PS can you tell I love Have Cake Will Travel?)... but neither was quite right. So I did what any girl would do. I made my own recipe!


Navy Bean Banana Cake

This bean cake doesn't need to 'set'; it does that on its own. It's got a wonderfully subtle banana flavor with the occasional crunch of a walnut, and sweet accents from strawberry jam. It's easy to make (even I could do it..) and uses things that are generally around the house, generally. It's very forgiving and will allow for many substitutions. I have another idea with this one, something I haven't seen done yet (maybe because its not possible) but for now, I'll give you this; (MAD THANKS to Have Cake Will Travel and through her, Activist Mommy--I never ever ever would have thought up how to put beans in a dessert without them... in fact you could even call this a sort of amalgamation of the two recipes almost.)

1 can (14oz) Navy Beans--very well rinsed, drained.
1/3 cup quick oats
1/3 cup (scant) whole wheat flour
1 tbsp flax meal
2 very large bananas (approx 9"--so you might want 3 medium!) Peeled and mashed!
1/3 cup walnuts (or more, if you like...) Rough chop (pulse in food processor if you only have halves.)
2 tbsp margarine
2 tbsp soy "cream"*
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup splenda (or sweetener of your choice. Please don't use stevia unless you have baked with it before and actually enjoy that extremely planty taste..)
1/4 cup to 1/3 cup Strawberry jam (or jam of your choice--I used ED Smith's "SPA Fruits" Strawberry jam to keep it low sugar/low GI)

Sliced bananas, peanutbutter, chocolate chips, sliced figs, dessicated coconut...

Preheat the oven to 350F. I used a springform cake pan as thats my favourite for making any cake (sooo easy to get out!) but feel free to use whatever cake pan you want. Approx 8in dia. Grease your pan with margarine or oil or a spray.

Put the oats in the food processor and give them a good whirrr until it's a coarse flour. Add in the rest of the ingredients except for the walnuts and let it mix well, then sprinkle in the walnuts through the top (or just stop, add in, and go again..). Once it's a mix, pour/scoop into cake pan. Lick the sides and spatula clean.** I licked the blades but I really don't recommend you do it. Especially if you're under 18--I don't want any angry mommies knocking on my door.

Pop in the oven and let it bake for 25-30 min, or until the edges are golden brown and coming off from the sides.

Take out and unfasten the springform; if you didn't use a springform just leave it, as I really don't know what would happen were you to invert it. Take your jam, mix it vigorously by hand first and then spread it on the warm cake--the cake will help the jam melt and become almost like a thick glaze. Really let it layer on there; the cake itself is not overly sweet so the jam really helps to sweeten it and make it a definite dessert item. Let that all cool before you put on any other toppings. I topped mine with sliced banana and natural peanutbutter, as you can see. It's firm and set and ready to be enjoyed whenever you're ready to eat it. :)


Bon Appetit!


PS, This is what I (alone) ate for 'dessert' today:

*I collect the 'gunk' thats always left at the bottom of my soy milk--so long as you use it within ten days of the soy milk being opened its a perfectly wonderful cream! Omit this if you don't have it, or just use soy milk--not worth opening a pack of silken tofu for this... (Unless you have some already open..) Soy yogurt would also work.. and if you're daring you could always try soy cream cheese, but don't say I recommended it because I've never even TRIED soy cream cheese.

**I usually HATE eating batter. Seriously, I would refuse to eat raw cake batter as a kid almost always--likely because it tasted like sugar and I knew it contained raw egg. How gross is that. Anyway, the habit stuck but for this.. oh yummm. I could have that for breakky! Anyway..

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Summer Summer Summer!.... And exams.

Exams, the sorority, work.. its all been caving down on me so I haven't had a chance to post. I HAVE been taking photos though. I also recently just organized a Vegan snack exchange on "VeggieBoards" so can't wait for my package--I'm excited for my recipient too--its gonna ROCK! ^__^

So to me, this is evidence that summer is really here:

Image Hosted by salad--avacados 2 for 89 cents!

Image Hosted by carrots and fennel

Image Hosted by the yummiest, tenderest artichikes--9 for a dollar.

Image Hosted by blackberries, 99 cents a pint

Image Hosted by mmmmm... fresh, fresh fruit. Cantaloupes 88 cents each, pineapple for 1.99, berries... doesn't get better...

Image Hosted by in a glass..

Image Hosted by miso-teryaki eggplant on the grill.

Image Hosted by did some sweet potato too!

Image Hosted by asian coleslaw (recipe coming--I LOVE this..)

Wish me luck on my exams--I'll make a more coherent post this weekend.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Provencal Mustard, on Kale

I bought this mustard recently (I LOVE mustard, and thought I'd give it a try.) I adore it--it's the fastest romesco-y, mustard-y sauce you'll ever get. Just take a spoonful and mix with some water to thin down. Just like that spread in a sandwich would be simply awesome.

Here it is, watered down a bit, with some Kale. mmmm.

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Cranberry Jam

A few months ago, when I had orange-overload, I bought no-sugar pectin to make marmalade. I never got around to it because of school, work, and sorority stuff was just piled too high to find time.

About a week ago I watched a bit of Alton Brown's "Good Eats" where he said frozen cranberries can last six months or so. It didn't take the rocket scientist in me to figure out that the 5 or 6 bags of frozen cranberries we had in the freezer would not be done within the next few months. And then it hit.

This jam is great. It's sugar-free (I used Splenda..), sweet and yet tart.. it's got a very similar flavor combo as to what I do for thanksgiving/christmas cranberry sauce, but of course--its a jam.

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1 bag of frozen cranberries. (3 cups)
1 orange (will need zest and juice)
1/2 to 1 tbsp ginger
1 cup sweetener
1 box sugar-free pectin
1/4 cup water

Put the cranberries, ginger, and orange zest and juice in a saucepan and allow it to simmer till the cranberries have popped. Add the sweetener and stir till dissolved. Add the pectin and allow to boil gently, stirring, for 5-10 minutes. Put in jars and allow to cool.

This made a jar and a half, so I did not feel the need to steralize the jars and make them air-tight. They were ready to use as jam within minutes, as the amount of pectin in there is huge. As you can see, this was NOT a runny jam/jelly--it did spread well though, have no fear, but if you want it a bit more runny, cut down on the pectin.

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Image Hosted by

April Foodtv Challenge (Vegetable Tart)

So when I saw the newest foodtv challenge is vegetarian-friendly (and is vegetarian if one gets rennet free cheese) I decided to make it. After all, the feta was just a topping--this was a pretty brainless 'veganization'.

My entry:

was so excited to see a veg-friendly recipe that I had to jump up and cook right away! I wanted something more Spring-y, and I was missing some ingredients, so I used mint and parsley in place of sage, mixed the butternut squash with sweet potato, and used roasted onion in place of fennel. I didn't have any phyllo on hand, so I simply used rice paper. I topped it with slivered almonds instead of feta to make this dish totally vegan. I had to give it two goes (same filling) to get the rice paper crust just right. This is an awesome recipe to get rid of all the extra veggies you have lying around and aren't totally sure what to do with!

In all honesty, this was a really boring veg-dish. You can tell off the bat when you read the recipe it will be. But I didn't think saying that would be very nice in the entry. Who knows, maybe the phyllo was the make or break...

It was pretty though. My entry photos:

The contest itself:

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Am I too Pushy?

Maybe. But I can't help it. I saw's spring menus and information were all so pro-veg, and I couldn't help but look around. Their menus, articles, and even new blog are all healthy, organic, and veg-based.

This article, however, upset me:

"10 Food and Nutrition Myths Debunked!"

Some of the writer's information was slightly off, but for the most part I agreed with the information she was handing out to the public. Except for Myth #10.

Myth #10: Dairy products are bad for you. Unless you’re allergic to milk products, there’s no good reason to cut this food group out of your diet. Dairy products contain many of the nutrients and compounds we need to be healthy, including protein and calcium. Dairy products are available in low-fat and fat-free versions, so try these if you’re concerned about fat and calories.

I couldn't help it. I had to reply.

I agree with almost everything you said. Except on the dairy front. The dairy we drink is processed to Pluto and back, as if it weren't disgusting enough to begin with. Low-fat/fat-free versions have undergone more modifications than Michael Jackson's nose. There is a reason dairy allergies are among the top 9 in Canada. But that's not to say that milk was healthy to begin with. Laden with Bovine Growth Hormone and Insulin-Like Growth Factor 1, milk naturally (organic or not) is formulated to cause one to gain extreme amounts of weight, extremely fast (after all, it is meant for a baby calf to grow from 90 pounds to 400.)

The fats found in milk are not healthy at all—laden with saturated fats and cholesterol, milk is an artery clog waiting to happen. Healthy fats include mono and polyunsaturated fats found in nuts, avocados, olive oil, flaxseed, fish, etc. The protein attained in milk has been linked to heart disease, diabetes and osteoporosis, and milk has been found to be a potent carcinogen.

Quote, from Cancer Facts & Figures 2008, Page 45 from the American Cancer Society: "Individuals who maintain a vegetarian diet ... have a lower risk of many cancers."

For those who want to do their own research, I implore you to visit the American Journal of Epidemiology (Epidemiology is the study of factors affecting health and illness in populations) and search "dairy" in their database. Read the titles of all the hits that come up—the titles alone will inform you of the death trap that is milk, and if you feel so inclined: read the abstracts, or even the articles—and learn more about how you can prevent poisoning yourself.

As if it weren’t enough that eliminating dairy from your diet will benefit your own health—there is the cows to think of too. Cruelty in the dairy industry is not as well known by the general public as that of the meat industry, but it is definitely there. Dairy cows are repeatedly impregnated only to have their babies taken to slaughter and their milk stolen from them by cold, painful machines that suck knot only the milk but the pus and blood from cows’ infected udders to be consumed by humans. After several short years (much shorter than a cows’ expected lifespan) the dairy cow dies and is slaughtered for hamburger meat. Unfortunately, organic dairy is even more cruel—as the cows must go through this torture without painkillers or antibiotics of any kind, and die twice as quickly as their ‘regular’ counterparts.

But I understand that all this is hard to believe. So I ask you to do your own research—don’t take my word for it, I’m just a near-anonymous poster on a website. Think for yourself, look into it yourself, and make your own decisions. Even if you simply choose to substitute dairy milk with vitamin fortified organic soy milk (which provides the same vitamins with zero cholesterol, less fat, and no animal proteins) and continue to eat cheese, yogurt, and other dairy products—everything helps.

Feel free to contact me with your comments, questions, or concerns at