Archive for Raisins

Good ol’ oatmeal

Never underestimate the power of oats

As I am sure everyone knows by now, I am a breakfast woman at heart. Sure, there’s a lot of fancy things you can make to pull together a breakfast, but sometimes something as simple as oatmeal is best. For over a week now, I have been making myself a bowl of oatmeal before work, and I have yet to get sick of it. It’s hearty, highly versatile, tasty, and above all, warm and filling. It keeps my belly happy and insides warm for the walk to work, and the complex carbohydrates of the oats keeps me going until I can eat lunch. Don’t get me wrong though, I’m not talking about the boxed and individually packaged, sugar-laden instant oatmeal here. I mean real, stove-top cooked oats, where one can use their imagine and add whatever their heart desires.

I always have raisins around the house, and I like to add them into the cut of water before I let it boil. It gives new life to the raisins, making them more plump and juicy. Once the water is boiling, I add in the 1/2 cup of oats, and reduce the heat. Next, I will generally add in a good amount of cinnamon, probably more than most people, because I REALLY love cinnamon. Then, depending how I am feeling that morning, I may throw in some nutmeg, a hint of salt, some allspice, and maybe the tiniest bit of cloves. If I am craving something sweet, I will add some brown sugar or maple syrup, but never more than a tablespoon. If I have an apple around, I will dice it up and add when the oats are still cooking as well, making the apples warm and just a little bit soft. Sometimes I will even add a tablespoon or two of applesauce, giving the oats extra sweetness and a nice apple flavor, which goes particularly well with cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice. When the oatmeal is just about done cooking, I will sometimes throw in chunks of banana, just enough to make the banana warm and soft, yet not too mushy.

I know it might not be as quick and easy as opening a package of instant oatmeal and zapping it in the microwave, but the extra couple of minutes and addition of real ingredients, without all the sugar, is really worth the effort. Your body and taste buds will enjoy it. And if that was not enough, it’s cheap!

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Oatmeal Banana Raisin Waffles

Breakfast! My all time favorite. The Brunch section of Vegan with a Vengeance really is spectacular. The Oatmeal Banana Raisin waffles are so good they should be sinful. They seriously are one of the best breakfast foods I have ever made. They are super full of flavor, have one of the best consistencies ever, and smell so good.

Here’s the recipe:

  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup quick-cooking (rolled) oats
  • 1 very ripe medium-size banana
  • 1 1/2 cups soy milk
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup raisins
  • Extra sliced bananas (and/or strawberries) for the top
You will first want to preheat the waffle iron. Then, mix together the flour, baking powder and soda, nutmeg, salt, and cinnamon. Once this is combined, add in the oats. Separate from this, mash the banana very well so there are no chunks left over. Then, add the soy milk, maple syrup and oil. Add the wet and dry ingredients together, and fold in the raisins. Let the waffle batter sit for about 2 minutes to let the oatmeal get moist and soft. Then – the fun part – make the waffles!
You will fall in love with these right away. They have a slightly chewy texture from the oats and the raisins, and are very filling. They taste awesome even without extra maple syrup on top, especially if you add bananas and strawberries for topping. I tried it with and without syrup, and I honestly think it was better without – they are just that good!

Carrot-Raisin Muffins

Gooooood morning

Vegan with a Vengeance really knows how to do breakfast/brunch. In flipping through my recipe books (I do this way too often), I saw this recipe and knew I had all the ingredients. Plus, the spices and carrots have a good autumn feeling to them. I recently bought a huge canister of raisins since they were on sale, so this was a good chance to use them.

Here’s the recipe:

  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1 1/2 cup flour (I used whole wheat pastry flour)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (I added a little more, as said, I like cinnamon)
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup soy milk
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups grated carrot

Grated carrots are a gorgeous thing

Begin by preheating the over to 400 degrees, and prepare your muffin tin. After this, get out a bowl of hot water to soak your raisins in. This will let them plump up, so they will be juicy and chewy in your muffins. I did this with the dried cranberries in the Zesty Cranberry Crumb Muffins from My Sweet Vegan and it makes the dried fruit so much better.

Then, mix together the baking powder and soda, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar and salt. After this is thoroughly mixed, add the milk, oil and vanilla. Mix this until it is just fully combined. Drain the water from the raisins and gently fold them into the mixture.

Fill the muffin tins to be about three-quarters full (you’ll get about a dozen muffins). These will rise (and look) nicely for you! Let them bake for 18 to 22 minutes, cool, and enjoy!

mmm!

I love these! They are so addicting though. Whenever I even set foot in the kitchen I thought about eating them, so needless to say they didn’t last long at all. They were perfectly moist (especially with the plump raisins) and you could really taste the carrot, yet without it being very overwhelming, which combined with the cinnamon and nutmeg was glorious. It was not over-the-top sugarly like some muffins, which is never something I want in the morning, or out of muffins in general. I know the quality of the pictures isn’t that stunning since the lighting was down right terrible in my kitchen at the time, but these muffins really do have a gorgeous color as well, very golden brown, with shreds of carrots  I can’t wait for there to be more carrots around the house so I can make these again.

Apple Crisp Pie

More delicious than you could possibly imagine

Saturday night it was beyond cold in the apartment. After sealing all the storm windows and investing in thicker curtains, it was still chilly (putting plastic on the windows is a job lined up already for next weekend), and we are attempting to hold out turning on the heat until at least the start of November.  In an effort to warm the place up, I was in quite a baking mood. With a bag of apples sitting around, I knew I wanted to incorporate them into some kind of dessert, and after seeing the Apple Crisp on my cousin Beth’s blog, I knew instantly that I wanted to make that  as well. It just looked so great, and clearly easy to make vegan by replacing the butter with margarine/Earth Balance. I had my heart set on making apple pie from then on. I had a mental struggle for about two hours as to whether or not I really felt like I had it in me to make a crust that night. After much debate, and recalling the last time I tried to make a while wheat crust (which turned out horrible, dry, and frustrating), I decided to walk to the near by coop and by a pre-made one. I know that it is cheating, but I really wanted to pie and did not want all of the anger of crust-making that night. So after picking up a whole wheat vegan crust, I continued onward.

The first thing I did was slice up the apples and started to make the filling, and preheated the oven to 350 degrees.

  • 6 medium apples (I used Gala apples), peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 2 tbsp apple cider
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup of maple syrup (depending on how sweet you would like your filling, I only used 1/4)
  • 2 to 2 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 1/2 tsp corn starch
  • 1 – 2 tbsp flour (I used whole wheat)

After the apples were peeled and sliced, I boiled them and the 1/2 cup of raisins for about ten minutes, until the apples had just become soft, which also allowed the raisins to plump up a bit. I then drained them both, saving 1/4 of the cup of apple water for the pie mixture.

I then added the 1/4 cup of water, apple cider, maple syrup, cinnamon and nutmeg. After mixing this, I then added the cornstarch and flour to thicken up the mixture. When it was all thoroughly combined, I poured it into the pie crust and spread it out evenly.

Then, I started making the topping for the pie, following Beth’s recipe:

  • 2/3 to 2/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup gluten free flour (I ended up using whole wheat flour yet again)
  • 1/2 cup of rolled oats
  • 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup of butter/margarine, softened

I mixed all of the ingredients together, and then began to slowly add in the butter (I used Wegman’s brand spread/margarine) until the mixture was crumbly (in the end I used slightly less than 1/3 of cup). I placed the topping on the apple pie filling, drizzled the smallest amount of maple syrup over the top, and put the pie in the oven for 30 to 35 minutes, until the top was golden brown.

First of all, the pie made the apartment smell fantastic. Between the boiled and baking apples, cinnamon and nutmeg, the place smelled like the embodiment of fall. Even after it was done baking, the mere presence of the pie on the kitchen island was fragrant enough to make you want to continuously eat it.

The topping was probably just as good as the pie itself. It was sweet, crunchy, and the sugar in it played well with the apple filling, which on its own was not too sweet. The raisins were delicious in the filling, adding a bit of a chew and sweetness to every bite. The filling turned out perfect: not too dry and not too moist. The crust, while I cannot take credit for it, was great as well.

The ever-tempting pie

If I really wanted to, I could have ate this pie in one sitting. After the first piece, while it was still room, I had to remove myself from the apartment so I would not eat any more. The smell of the pie from our room was so strong that we had to cover it with a plate as to not see or get a delicious scent of it after brushing our teeth before bed. I would say it was one of the better things I have baked in a long time.

#3! Oatmeal Raisin Rolls


Again, to the breakfast section (sweet starts) of My Sweet Vegan. I really can’t help myself. Breakfast food is great anytime though, and these oatmeal raisin rolls were good for breakfast, for an after work snack, and as dessert. They were particularly great with coffee, as they turned out slightly dry. Besides them being dry, which could easily be remedied by adding either more butter/soy milk to the dough, they were extremely tasty.

I definitely would make them again, and both my brother and boyfriend seemed to like them. For what it was worth, they were not too labor intensive, and there was no period of waiting for the dough to rise or the yeast to activate, which is nice in terms of saving time or if you wanted them far sooner than later. The oats were a nice addition to the roll, giving it a little more texture and chew than what you normally would expect out of a breakfast roll, and in my opinion also made them hearty and filling. I loved the brown sugar-raisin combination, and the brown sugar that came in contact with the bottom of the pan caramelized and became very gooey and delicious. Next time I would pull them off the pan and immediately flip them over so the gooey side is facing up. I think they are great alone, but the potential for adding frosting and icing is always there. The rolls themselves aren’t overly sweet, which is what I liked about them, so I found no need to add any other sugar concoctions to the top of them.

They also made the house smell awesome while baking!

A tasty stack of them!