Monday, October 24, 2011

Apple Pie Bars

Mmm...Apple pie bar. Photo by Travis Stevens
If you are accessing this blog through the office of sustainability website, you may be wondering what in the world any of this has to do with a more sustainable lifestyle.
1. We all eat.  We all use resources to grow, access and cook food either directly or indirectly. What we choose to eat impacts resource use. Plus, if we think about our food just a bit it it opens an interesting door for exploring how the planet supports us and how we can act in a way the helps or hinders it from continuing to do so.

2. We are social creatures, like it or not. I wasn't exactly social in my younger years so it came as a great surprise when somewhere along the line I finally embraced that people enrich my life. Sharing good food with friends nourishes me and can bring a bit of joy to even the most mundane day. It makes my friends happy (which makes me happy) and it often is a good excuse for getting together, relaxing, discussing and pausing for a bit to enjoy life.

Does all the food I eat have the least possible ecological impact?  Do I share all my meals with family or friends?  Clearly if you've looked at any of my recipes and see the heavy use of sugar and flour, you realize the answer is no.   But I do try to find a balance when I can - those are local apples in the photo, the veggies I eat are grown in a responsible manner and I don't eat much meat.  These are little steps, and collectively they are giant steps.  Here is some food for thought I heard recently, When it comes to sustainability a reaction many people have is 'What can I do?' a better question is  'How should I be?'...

Enough philosophizing, to the apple pie bars!  I recently brought these to a dinner party which convinced me that it's not only me, these really are scrumptious.  Against my friend's advice to keep this recipe super secret so Starbucks doesn't steel it, I've decided to spread the joy. 

Apple Pie Bars
2 1/2 C flour (I generally use 2 C white rice and 1/2 C sorghum, brown rice or sweet rice flours)
1 tsp salt
1 C (2 sticks) Earth Balance, chilled
1 egg, room temperature
2/3 C milk substitute
1 C crushed corn/rice based cereal (I forgot these last time and they turned out fine)
8 C peeled, thinly sliced, tart apples (mandolins work great for this)
1 C sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 C powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp milk substitute
1/2 tsp vanilla

1. Stir together flours and salt.  Cut in butter.
2. Add egg and milk. Stir with a fork until incorporated.
3. Divide dough in half.  Roll half the dough into a rectangle large enough to cover a 9x13inch pan.  If the dough does not stick together well try chilling it for 20 minutes or just press it directly into the pan.
4. Sprinkle cereal over the crust and layer apple slices on top.
5. In a bowl, stir together sugar and spices.  Sprinkle over apples.
6. Cover apples with the other half of rolled out dough.
7. Brush with egg white, and sprinkle with a mix of 2 Tbs sugar and 1/2 tsp cinnamon.
8. Bake 45 minutes - 1 hour until slightly brown.
9. Once bars are mostly cool, mix together glaze ingredients and drizzle by the fork-full onto bars.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Cinnamon Raisin Bread

As promised, a recipe for a wheat and dairy free bread even regular bread eaters will enjoy.

The recipe I used came from another blog - but as usual I've made a few adaptations.  

Cinnamon Raisin Bread
1 3/4 C flour (All brown rice flour works, so does 1c. white rice flour with 3/4 c. sorghum flour) 
1/2 C potato starch
1/4 C tapioca starch (cornstarch also works)
1/2 C sugar
1 TBS xanthan gum
1 1/2 tsp yeast
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 TBS cinnamon
1 - 1 1/2 C raisins
1 C milk (soy, almond or rice)
2 TBS vegetable oil
2 tsp cider vinegar
2 eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
2 egg whites, room temperature, lightly beaten

1. In a medium bowl, combine all dry ingredients.  Mix in raisins.
2. Add wet ingredients to bread machine.  Turn machine to 'Dough' cycle.  When paddle starts turning add the dry ingredients.  Alternatively, mix wet and dry ingredients together then add to bread machine.
3. When cycle is complete, bake at 350 for an hour in oven or bread machine.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

What do you eat?

The is the most common response I hear when people find out I don't eat  wheat or dairy is 'What do you eat?' Mind you, this is often said in a tone of total bewilderment and extreme urgency, as though I may starve right there in front of them. The answer? It's not as bad as you might think, and I have a more diverse not to mention delicious diet because of it. Here is a small sampling of a few items from the last two weeks. Apparently I was on a dumpling kick.

Stay tuned for the raisin bread recipe. GF breads normally turn out like edible bricks, but not this one! Imagine, GF bread that actually tastes and feels like wheat bread. Want to know how other dishes were made? Simply comment.

Tomatillo stew with cornmeal (from Shagbark Seed & Mill) dumplings

Homemade pasta with garlic 'butter' sauce

'Cheesecake' (and some amazing ice crystals) from the freezer.

"This bread is so good I'd eat it everyday even though I'm not gluten-free."
Cinnamon raisin bread

Vegetable chilli with polenta