Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Best Blog Tips

The pancakes just before we devoured them this morning. 

Why a hemp pancake mix?
Below is the recipe for a multi-grain vegan pancake mix that I originally devised for a proposed hemp book. That book deal fell through, but it's a good mix, and a fun way to add some hemp to your diet. You can read about the ecological benefits of hemp here. Hemp can play a role in an anti-inflammatory diet, since it is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Hemp is a good source of fiber and protein, and it is a very sustainable, versatile crop that can grow in North America without pesticides! It is grown in many countries, including Canada, and is considered a good crop to replace tobacco.

Here are some Hemp Facts from The Hempsters:

"* The Declaration of Independence and US Constitution were drafted on hemp paper.
* The first American Flag was made out of hemp.
* George Washington and Thomas Jefferson both grew hemp.
* The finest bible paper remains hemp-based even today.
* The first Levi Jeans were made from hemp.
* The canvas on the covered wagons of American pioneers heading west was made of hemp.
* The rigging sails of every ship that sailed the high seas during the 18th and 19th centuries was made of hemp.
* Hemp was money and was used to pay taxes for over 200 years."

Hemp Seeds


Hemp can provide a valuable ecological solution to help our civilization transform its economy from relying on non-renewable disappearing resource bases such as petroleum and fossil fuels to a more natural, sustainable economic one, such as plants.

Our reliance on non-renewable fossil fuels releases large amounts of carbon dioxide and other pollutants into the environment, which affects our health, our future and our economy and ultimately the sustainability of our species and others on Earth as seen by the dramatic climatic events seen around the globe.

Switching our reliance to a renewable resource such as plants for energy and other materials will help us come back into balance with nature and reduce pollution.

Hemp offers an opportunity to develop agricultural and processing methods that do not harm the environment as it is biodegradable, natural and it will not end up in our landfills."


The big difference between hemp and marijuana is the seeds from which it is grown.
Hemp cannot get you “high” as industrial hemp seeds have very minimal THC levels (the psychoactive ingredient), typically less than 0.3%. Canada’s hemp production is regulated by Health Canada through a licensing program where farms that grow hemp are inspected and the crop is tested to ensure the THC levels are below 0.3%."

UPDATE ABOUT GROWING HEMP IN THE USA: "South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster recently signed into law a bill that allows for the growth and sale of hemp. House Bill 3559 establishes a hemp pilot program that will award 20 licenses permitting farmers to grow, harvest and sell hemp in South Carolina. Each grower will be able to cultivate up to 20 acres of the crop.
With the bill signed into law, South Carolina becomes the 31st U.S. state to allow hemp cultivation or pilot programs under the federal 2014 Farm Bill. Its program will be managed by the South Carolina Department of Agriculture."  It has been legal to grow hemp in Canada since mid-1998.

The Hemp Pancake Mix-- you see, it's not green.
Printable Recipe

BRYANNA'S MULTI-GRAIN, HEMP PROTEIN PANCAKE MIX (There are some options if you don't want to use hemp.)

These pancakes can be mixed up in a few minutes and taste almost like the white kind, yet have plenty of fiber and grains in them, plus the goodness of hemp seed!  This is a variation of my Vegan All-American "Buttermilk" Pancake Mix.

Dry Ingredients for Mix—- whisk together well in a large bowl:
3 cup whole wheat pastry flour (use white wheat whole wheat pastry flour, if possible)
1 cup oat flour (you can just grind oatmeal in a dry blender until fine)
3/4 cup corn flour ** (see below)
1/2 cup hemp protein powder
1/4 cup golden flaxseed, ground in a clean, dry blender or electric coffee/spice mill (one that is NOT used for coffee!)
1/4 cup brown rice flour (Brown rice flour can also be made in small amounts in a clean, dry electric coffee/spice grinder. Grind as finely as possible.)
2 tablespoons granulated organic sugar
4 teaspoons Ener-G or Orgran egg replacer powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking powder

Rub in:
1/4 cup oil of your choice

Keep in a tight container, refrigerated. STIR BEFORE MEASURING OUT.

MAKING THE BATTER (stir mix before measuring):
ADD each 2 cups of mix (12-16 pancakes):
1 tablespoon lemon juice plus water to make 1 1/2 cups

ADD to each 1 cup of mix (6-8 pancakes):
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice plus water to make 3/4 cup

ADD to each 2/3 cup of mix (6-4 pancakes):
1 tablespoon lemon juice plus water to make 1/2 cup

ADD to each 1/2 cup of mix (3-4 pancakes):
3/4 teaspoon lemon juice plus water to make 6 tablespoons

To make the pancakes:
Place mix in a medium bowl. Dump the lemon juice and water into the dry ingredients and whisk briefly just until no dry flour is visible-- it will be lumpy and quite thick. Let stand while you heat up your pancake griddle or good, heavy skillet, on top of the stove (I find this makes nicer pancakes than my electric griddle, but it's up to you) and spray with oil from a pump-sprayer ( or rub with an oil-spoaked paper towel) before each batch. Drops of water should sizzle when sprinkled on the surface if it's ready.

Spoon heaping tablespoonfuls of the batter onto the hot, oiled griddle or skillet and spread it out gently to a 4" circle with the back of the spoon. (I used a tiny ladle that holds 1 and 1/2 T. and that was perfect.) Cook until it has puffed a bit, bubbles appear in the surface and the bottoms are golden-brown. Carefully loosen with a spatula (if using a plastic spatula, make sure that it has a nice thin edge on it) and turn over gently. The center will rise a bit and be firm, and the other side golden when done. Don't overcook, or they fall and are heavy.

Serve on warm plates topping of your choice. Yum!
© Bryanna Clark Grogan 2008

Servings: 16
Yield: (4 batches of 12-16 pancakes-- each batch of 2 cups mix)

Nutrition Facts (Nutrition facts are for 1/2 cup mix, which makes 4 small pancakes)
Nutrition (per serving):
247.2 calories; 26% calories from fat; 7.3g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 400.2mg sodium; 237.2mg potassium; 38.9g carbohydrates; 6.0g fiber; 2.0g sugar; 32.9g net carbs; 8.3g protein; 4.8 points.

Cooking Tips
**Corn Flour:

Corn flour is not the same as cornstarch (confusingly, what we call "cornstarch" in North America is referred to as "corn flour" in the UK)- it's very finely-ground yellow cornmeal. I can find it in the Asian or Indian section of my supermarkets, but also look for it in Indian (East Asian) markets and health food stores.

If you can't find corn flour, or if you prefer to use organic products, grind the finest yellow cornmeal you can find in a clean coffee/spice mill until it is powdery (this is important), or grind yellow cornmeal on the finest setting of your electric grain mill (I had to run it through mine twice).


Monday, February 16, 2009


Best Blog Tips

Homemade vegan peanut butter cookies

Low-fat peanut butter cookies? Well, not exactly, but lower in fat (especially the saturated kind) than most. Mine are also made with whole grain flour, which provides more nutrients and fiber.

I used a combination of applesauce and syrup instead of the extra fat used in the standard recipe, relying only on the fat in the peanut butter itself. Applesauce only makes too soft a cookie, and all syrup makes a cookie that's too crispy.

Unfortunately, I didn't have any chocolate left over from Valentine's Day to make the peanut Blossom Cookie version to photograph, but they are my favorite.

Printable Recipe

Yield: 30 cookies

A lower-fat, vegan version peanut butter cookies, AND a variation with the "Hershey Kisses" in the middle that I used to love so much-- except that instead of the "kisses" I use organic vegan dark chocolate chunks or chips.

1 3/4 cups wholewheat PASTRY flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
OPTIONAL: 1/2 cup chopped roasted peanuts
1/2 cup light organic granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup smooth unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup organic corn syrup, golden syrup or brown rice syrup (agave nectar is too sweet for this recipe)
1/2 cup organic, natural peanut butter
1/2 tablespoon Ener-G or Orgran egg replacer powder
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons non-dairy milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
Coarse organic unbleached sugar for rolling

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Whisk the Dry Mix ingredients together well in a medium bowl. (If using the peanuts, stir them in.)

In a food processor, beat the Wet Mix ingredients together til smooth. Add to the Wet Mix to the Dry Mix ingredients in the bowl and mix well. Refrigerate the dough in the covered bowl for several hours (or place in the freezer until the dough is firm, if you are in a hurry!)

Divide the dough into 30 even pieces and quickly roll each into a ball (or as close to a ball shape as you can!), then roll in the coarse unbleached sugar. Place on nonstick or parchment-lined cookie sheets. Use the tines of a fork to press down the dough a little in one direction, and then the other, to make a grid design.

Bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes, or until they are starting to brown on the bottom. Remove pans from the oven and let cool for about 3 minutes, then carefully place the cookies on racks with a spatula to cool thoroughly.

Cool on racks.


You will need:
30/ 1/2-inch chunks of organic vegan chocolate (OR you could use 3 or 4 organic, dairy-free chocolate chips on each cookie instead)

Follow the directions for making the dough and chilling it. Do not press down the cookie balls with a fork as directed above. Instead, leave them in the ball shape. Immediately after removing from the oven, top each cookie with a chunk of chocolate while still hot. Place in the turned-off oven for a few minutes to soften the chocolate. Then cool as directed above.

Yield: 30 cookies

Nutrition Facts for the plain cookie, without extra peanuts or chocolate:
Nutrition (per cookie)
: 92.3 calories; 20% calories from fat; 2.3g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 79.7mg sodium; 72.1mg potassium; 17.1g carbohydrates; 1.1g fiber; 11.2g sugar; 15.9g net carbs; 2.1g protein; 1.8 points.

(The standard recipe for peanut butter cookies, of the same size, using 1 3/4 cups flour, results in each cookie containing over 6 grams total fat [a lot of it saturated], and about 133.5 calories [46% calories from fat], and about .6 g dietary fiber.)

Here are the Nutrition Facts when made with the optional chopped peanuts:
Nutrition (per cookie):
106.5 calories; 27% calories from fat; 3.5g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 79.8mg sodium; 88.1mg potassium; 17.6g carbohydrates; 1.3g fiber; 11.3g sugar; 16.3g net carbs; 2.6g protein; 2.2 points.

Here are the Nutrition Facts if you use the chocolate:
Nutrition (per cookie):
159.8 calories; 31% calories from fat; 6.5g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 81.2mg sodium; 123.8mg potassium; 26.1g carbohydrates; 1.1g fiber; 11.2g sugar; 24.9g net carbs; 2.7g protein; 3.5 points.

(The standard recipe for Peanut Blossom Cookies, of the same size, using 1 3/4 cups flour, results in each cookie containing about 8 g total fat [a lot of it saturated] and 173 calories [45% calories from fat], and about .88 g dietary fiber.)


Wednesday, February 4, 2009


Best Blog Tips I'm mixing the Far East with the Middle East today! It's almost a year since I did a blog post on baby bok choy-- they are so tempting this time of year! The flavor is much sweeter than in mature bok choy and I didn't want a sauce that would compete with or overpower that sweetness. So this stir-fry is a mild Cantonese-style dish. We ate the whole thing between the two of us!


Printable Recipe

Servings: 3

Baby bok choy are appealing and delicious, as well as nutritious, in this quick stir-fry. Serve with steamed brown basmati rice for a satisfying meal!

Have Ready:
1 lb baby bok choy, washed, drained and sliced in half lengthwise (purchase the kind that are only 2-3"long for this recipe)
2 cups (2 oz. dry) drained, reconstituted Soy Curls® or other vegan chicken sub, in slices (see here for info on Soy Curls® and how to reconstitute)
1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
1 bunch green onions, trimmed and thinly-sliced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
Cooking Sauce: (whisk together in a small bowl)
1/2 cup vegetarian broth
1 tablespoon Vegetarian "Oyster Sauce" (such as Lee Kum Kee "Vegetarian Stir-fry Sauce"-- see here for info and a homemade recipe)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon organic granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch (organic is available) mixed with
1/2 cup water

Heat the oil in a large nonstick wok or skillet. Add the Aromatics (chopped green onions and garlic) and stir-fry for a couple of minutes. Add the Soy Curls® or other sliced vegan chicken sub and stir-fry for a few more minutes over high heat.

Add the prepared bok choy and stir-fry until the bok choy starts to wilt. Add the Cooking Sauce and stir to coat all of the ingredients and to heat. Quickly add the Thickener and stir quickly. Remove from heat and serve immediately with hot rice.

Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per serving):
169.1 calories; 43% calories from fat; 8.0g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 449.6mg sodium; 500.0mg potassium; 14.9g carbohydrates; 4.5g fiber; 4.8g sugar; 10.4g net carbs; 10.3g protein; 3.2 points.




Printable Recipe


This is a "cheat" recipe-- it uses a mix! But it's worth it if, like me, you rarely eat felafel because of the oil involved. There is an excellent felafel mix made by a Lebanese company, Cedar, that I like. However, if you can't find it, it seems that there are any number of Middle Eastern brands out there. Use one that just soaks in water for an hour before cooking. All you do with these mixes is add water and let it stand for an hour. Then you form the mix into patties and fry. The trouble is, I'd rather not fry if I don't have to! So, I found a way to enjoy these without the oil-- steaming them, and then oven-frying! (Unfortunately, I don't have the nutritional analysis for these.) The steaming cooks them thoroughly and makes them moist inside. Not quite as good as fried, but almost!

1 box or package of your favorite felafel (falafel) mix (whatever brand you like-- I'm not crazy about the Fantastic Foods brand; I prefer the Cedar brand)
water (the amount instructed on the box or package)

Creamy Tofu/Tahini Mint Sauce:
2/3 cup (5.25 oz.) firm or extra-firm SILKEN tofu
1/4 cup lemon juice (fresh or organic bottled)
2 tablespoons tahini
1/2 teaspoon crumbled dried mint (or 1 tablespoon fresh, chopped)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 pinch sugar

Mix the felafel mix and water in a large bowl. Let stand for an hour (it can sit longer).

While the mixture stands, make the Sauce.

Mix the sauce ingredients until VERY smooth in a blender or food processor. Scoop the sauce into a serving bowl, cover, and refrigerate until serving time.

When the mixture has soaked for an hour or more:

Make small patties out of the mixture (these are easier to cook than balls).

Place the patties, not touching, on oiled steaming plates or baskets, with small holes in them, not grates. You can also use a collapsible metal steamer; a Chinese stacking steamer pot in stainless steel; or Chinese bamboo stacking steamers to use in a wok or stirfry pan.  If using bamboo baskets, line them with cooking parchment cut to fit, or parchment steamer liners.

If you have no streaming apparatus, place the patties on dinner plates lined with cooking parchment. The plate can be balanced on two chopsticks placed across the inside of a wok or stir-fry pan (or 4 chopsticks, "tic-tac-toe" style). (You'll have to steam one plate at a time.) Cover with a domed lid while steaming.

You can improvise a steamer using a large pot with a tight lid. An electric skillet with a collapsible steamer basket also makes a good steamer. The lid should be 1 to 2" above the food so that the steam can circulate around the food. The food should be supported at least 1" above the simmering water.

Steam the patties over barely boiling water, covered, for 10 minutes. You can do this ahead of time and then oven-fry them later, if you like.


Let the patties cool until they are easier to handle. In the meantime, heat the oven to 500°F.

Place the patties on dark cookie sheets (they brown better than shiny ones) sprayed or brushed lightly with olive oil. Spray or brush the tops with olive oil, too. Bake for 5 minutes, or until the bottoms are crispy and golden-brown. Flip them over gently and bake for 3-5 minutes more, to brown the other side.


Serve immediately with the Sauce.


Sunday, February 1, 2009


Best Blog Tips

I work on recipes so often that I often forget to make old favorites, but I've been making this recipe  (from a book of mine circa 1999) often these days as a low-fat snack. It's a spread that's super-easy to make, and it's great on toast (for breakfast), in celery sticks (an old favorite), or just on crackers.

**This spread is also delicious used as a filling for grilled (vegan) cheeze sandwiches-- why didn't I think of that before? This spread doesn't melt, but that doesn't matter, because it is already soft and creamy like melted cheese, so the grilling just heats it up. Yum!

** Another variation-Vegan Cheeze Sauce: If you thin out 1 cup of the spread with 1/2 cup nondairy milk, it makes a great "Cheddar-y Cheese Sauce". (Whisk it well until it's smooth. This can be heated gently.) We loved it on steamed broccoli.

Give this recipe a whirl (not to make a pun!)... it's definitely a keeper.

Printable Recipe

Yield: 1 3/4 cups to 2 cups

UPDATE, Feb 2012: Last time I made this I added a twist from Betsy DiJulio's book, The Blooming Platter Cookbook.
She uses this genius ingredient in her homemade vegan cheeses--  beer!  So I added a little beer to this recipe. It adds just the right amount of tangy fermented taste, which really adds to the over-all flavor of the spread, or dip. Thank you, Betsy!  **But, in order to do this and not have it turn out too liquid-y, you have to crumble the silken tofu into a nut bag or a large square of white cotton sheeting-sort of material and twist and squeeze the bag until you have 1/4 cup of liquid from the tofu squeezed out.  Then proceed with the recipe, but add 1/4 cup of beer to the mixture.  Simple!

See 2 
variations in yellow-highlighted  text above.

Recipe adapted from from my book "Soyfoods Cooking for a Positive Menopause".

12.3 oz (1 box) extra-firm SILKEN tofu, crumbled (OR 1 lb. medium firm tofu or Chinese "Traditional" Tofu, pressed or squeezed to make 12 oz.- 12.3 oz.)
1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
2 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons lemon juice (fresh or organic bottled)
1 1/2 tablespoons miso (medium brown)
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon paprika (or use all or half smoked paprika [pimenton])
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic granules or powder
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard powder

Mix all the ingredients in a food processor until VERY smooth.

Spoon into a covered container and refrigerate several hours to firm up and meld the flavors (overnight would be ideal). Keeps refrigerated about 1 week.

Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per 2 tablespoons)
: 35 calories; 1.5g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 175mg sodium; 100mg potassium; 2.5g carbohydrates; 1.0g fiber; 0.5g sugar; 2g net carbs; 3.5g protein; 0.8 points.