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Archive for November, 2012

Vegan Pumpkin Pecan Pie Bites

Sunday, November 25th, 2012

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays for all the food, fun, and stress-free time with friends and family. As has been the case the last few years, I spent the day with my friend Scott and his family. Thanks again to all for having me! :)

He and his wife took care of the vegan main dishes (chickpea ratatouille and baked beans), while the veggie sides were prepared both ways, i.e., with and without butter. They also made gluten free chocolate chip cookies for dessert, but I wanted to make and bring a traditional, seasonal sweet.

Here’s what I came up with, based on a couple recipes I found online: Vegan, no bake, pumpkin pecan pie bites. Mmmm…

The first of two rows ready for travel

The crust is simply a combination of pecans and sweetened dried cranberries run through a food processor per the amounts, times, and directions at Pumpkin Pie Bites.

I replaced the coconut oil with equal parts Smart Balance, but that created a greasy mess, so I blotted it down and made another batch without the vegan butter, then pulsed the two batches together. If I were to make it again, I’d skip it entirely as the pecans generate plenty of oil on their own when ground up.

Even with a double batch, it still only formed the bottoms, no sides, of 15 regular muffin tin cups. The recipe calls for mini muffins, so that makes sense. Probably would have got more people to take a chance on trying them too if they were smaller still.

Assembled in muffin tin cups

The filling was wonderfully spiced and sweet. It was a mixed inspiration from the recipe linked above and these No Bake Pumpkin Pie Cups as follows:

1 15oz can pumpkin puree
5 Tb maple syrup
3 Tb almond butter
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
3/8 tsp ground ginger (1/4 tsp + 1/8 tsp)
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves

Just puree the ingredients in a food processor until smooth and thickened.

After being refrigerated overnight

A lusciously rich autumnal treat. The pie filling would also work very well for a whole pie using a standard crust.

BPA Free Tomatoes

Monday, November 12th, 2012

In a post a couple years back, I discussed some of the hazards of Bisphenol A and listed some BPA free canned food products. Among them were even canned tomatoes, namely those from Muir Glen, though they’re considerably more expensive. The best price is probably that obtained by buying a 12-pack from Amazon.

Anyway, I’m revisiting this topic because I was recently alerted to the existence of boxed tomato products from Pomi. These are presumably BPA-free, but I’ve written to them to seek official verification.

Before we celebrate too much, however, there may still be health issues with Tetra Paks. The company responds to such concerns in their FAQ by answering the question “Are aseptic packages safe?” thusly:

Yes. There are no health concerns associated with the aseptic package. The silver material you see on the inside of the aseptic package is an ultra-thin layer of aluminum, which forms a barrier against light and oxygen, eliminating the need for refrigeration and preventing spoilage without using preservatives. Aluminum does not touch the food product. The inside layer of an aseptic package, which touches the product, is polyethylene (plastic), not aluminum. Moreover, there is no leaching of aluminum or aluminum components through the polyethylene layer. The polyethylene used in the aseptic package, low-density polyethylene (LDPE), is an FDA-approved food-contact surface material. It is the only material in the package that comes in contact with the food product, and in addition, industry tests have shown that no polyethylene leaches into the food product.

-from http://zoblue.com/assets/prof/tetrapak/faq.html#12

Returning to the positives, they’re much easier to fit in your cabinets, they’re only slightly more costly ($2.29 at my local grocery store), and check out that list of no’s (No fat, no sodium added, no artificial flavors, no preservatives, no water added, no citric acid, no refrigeration required)!

Lastly, they taste like tomatoes should; while at Scott’s a couple weekends ago, we made a pasta sauce with the strained tomatoes and a salsa with the chopped, and they were fresh and worked well. That said, Muir Glen’s Smoked Diced tomatoes are still the favorite in their household.

My Cookbook:

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