adventures in vegan cooking
I’m a yogi, but I’m not a vegan, or even a vegetarian. However, I am exploring different dietary options. For example, I recently eliminated (almost) all dairy from my diet, and I’m amazed at the results. My allergies cleared up! Empowered by those results, I forged ahead into the land of gluten-free and veganism.
My husband got nervous, trying in a passive way to dissuade me. “That’s a lot of work… Are you sure you want to do all that work? I’m only thinking of you…” He joked about ordering take-out as a back-up: “Bring on the stunt pizza!”
I rolled my eyes and tied on my apron. Here are the results.
Banana Chia pudding
I have read about chia pudding, and it sounds perfect. Sweet and creamy! Healthy fats! Just like “real” banana pudding! I’m all in, because I do love homemade banana pudding, especially with Nilla wafers. Here’s what you do for chia pudding: first put the chia seeds in some water, add some bananas, a can of coconut milk, dashes of cinnamon and salt, and presto! You have a healthy breakfast or yummy dessert.
Wrong. It was nasty. It tasted like I was eating jelly fish. This is nothing like banana pudding, other than the bananas. It went right into the garbage. Since my experience, I’ve heard from other people who really love chia pudding, and if you’re one of them, please respond with a good recipe! You can find the one I used here.
Gluten Free Pizza Dough
When the girls were growing up, I made pizza every week. I used Cook’s Illustrated Fastest Pizza Dough recipe (which I am unable to find online, unless you want to pay for it on the Cook’s Illustrated website). Over the past few years, however, I have given it up, mainly because I’m trying to cut back on gluten and dairy. But I missed my pizza so much that I decided to try a GF crust. (And I abandoned my dairy-free ways to put real cheese on it — after I get the crust right, I’ll move towards faux cheese.)
I used Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free All-Purpose Flour, because I heard through trusted family members (looking at you, Brian!) that they used it to make chocolate chip cookies, and the cookies tasted just the same. That was enough for me. So I make my pizza dough, and the consistency is off. It doesn’t feel like regular gluten-filled pizza dough. But I trust the process and keep going. It rises beautifully. But when I turn it out onto the breadboard, it’s a crumbly mess. I can’t shape it into dough.
Bring in the stunt pizza! Endure gloating from husband.
Go back and read the directions, and discover that I’m supposed to add xanthan gum. Well, it would have been nice to know that before I started! But I didn’t bother to read all the print on the back of the flour package.
So I try again, adding 2 teaspoons of xanthan gum to my next batch. The dough turns out to be decent, but overall chewy and not that great. Then I squint to read the fine print, and discover that I’m supposed to add 2 teaspoons of xanthan gum per cup of flour. So I only added one-quarter of what I needed. Oops. The dough turned out pretty well, however, and the stunt pizza got the night off. Stay tuned for Attempt Number Three!
Moral of this story: read the fine print! But honestly, who reads the fine print on a bag of flour?
Cinnamon Apple Grain-Free Breakfast Porridge
Success! This turned out to be quite delicious. Sweet, slightly crunchy, creamy—just perfect! It made enough for me to save the rest and reheat, ensuring a hot breakfast for the whole week.
But the recipe is way too complicated. First, you have to remember to soak the nuts overnight, and I kept forgetting about that, so it took a few weeks to get to making it. Then to prepare the porridge in the morning, you use the food processor, colander, bowl and whisk (for the coconut milk), two spatulas, four spoons, a saucepan, measuring cups and spoons, and the nutmeg grater. Honestly, who wants to face that in the morning? The recipe I used is here. Undecided if I will try this again, but it is yummy.