Mocha Teff Muffins

LVV MoFo 2014 main

Last year for Christmas, my parents put bags of teff flour in the kids’ stockings. (Has that sentence ever been written before?!) I’d ask a leading question like, “What do you think it says about us that we were thrilled?” but I suspect many of my readers would be equally excited to receive a new ingredient as a present! I loved everything about this gift, from the thought behind it to the product’s packaging.

Truth be told, though, I haven’t used it till now. I wanted to do it justice, y’know? I figured I should make injera, but I wanted to do that only if I were making a big Ethiopian feast, and that just hasn’t happened yet. But as I rummaged through my pantry in search of nutritional superstars in disguise, I noticed that a quarter cup of teff flour has 20% of your daily value of iron, 8% of our RDV of calcium, 24% of your RDV of iron, and a cool 5 grams of protein. Needless to say, I had to try it, and I wondered how it would fare in a baked good. The answer? Really, really well.

Mocha Teff Muffins Mocha Teff Muffins
Makes 12 muffins

  • 3/4 cup teff flour
  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder (Dutch-processed, ideally)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • Dash ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup cold very strong coffee (feel free to make it using instant espresso powder)
  • 1/3 cup almond milk
  • 1/3 cup vegan sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar (or additional regular sugar)
  • 1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3-1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350˚ and prepare a muffin tin using liners or a light spray of oil.

In a large mixing bowl, sift together the first seven dry ingredients (teff flour through cinnamon). Stir to combine, then add the oats. In a small bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients and the sugar. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the wet. Using a plastic spatula or a wooden spoon, stir gently to combine, but don’t overmix. The batter will be very smooth, almost silky. Fold in the chocolate chips, then add the batter to the prepared muffin tin with a spoon. Fill each well about 3/4 of the way. Bake for 15-17 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool for at least five minutes before eating.

Mocha Teff Muffins

I’m enchanted with teff flour! The grain itself is teeny-tiny, and the flour is incredibly fine. It makes a silky-smooth batter that mixes with nearly no trouble, and the baked muffin has a light, delicate crumb. I’m itching to bake with it again already!

And the nutritional stats of these not-too-sweet muffins? If you eat two (and you will), you’ll get 22% of your RDV of iron, 7% of your RDV of calcium, about 7 grams of protein, and a respectable helping of fiber.

Have you cooked with teff flour?

Butternut Squash Risotto with Sage and Toasted Hazelnuts

LVV MoFo 2014 main

We’ve all got a favorite flavor pairing. Peanut butter and chocolate. Raspberries and chocolate. Coffee and chocolate. Wait, how did chocolate make its way into all those examples?! Oops. How about mango and cardamom? Pumpkin and cinnamon? And my sleeper favorite, butternut squash and sage. There’s something transcendent about that combination, but I don’t use it often enough. Every time I do, though, I’m reminded how lovely sage is—it has such a pure, clean scent, and it complements butternut squash like a dream. I think you’ll agree when you try this dish.

Butternut Squash Risotto with Sage and Toasted Hazelnuts

Butternut Squash Risotto with Sage and Toasted Hazelnuts
Serves four

  • 1/2 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (we keep a bottle of cheap wine in the fridge for cooking)
  • 4-6 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 1/2 cup roasted butternut squash, mashed or pureed (you can roast a squash in advance and keep it in the fridge, then just scoop out the insides)
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage (fresh sage would be nice too!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1-2 tablespoons vegan butter (optional)
  • 1/4 cup toasted hazelnuts, for topping

In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 4-6 minutes until translucent. Add the rice and stir so that the rice is coated with the oil and onion mixture. Add the wine and it let it cook for a minute or two, then add a cup of the vegetable broth. Stir frequently and add more broth as the rice soaks it up.

The entire cooking process should take between 20 and 30 minutes; you might not use all the broth and that’s okay. Taste the rice as it begins to soften to test whether it’s done. Towards the end of the cooking process, add the nutritional yeast and spices. Turn off the heat, stir in the vegan butter (if using), and add salt and pepper to taste. Top with toasted hazelnuts and serve.

Butternut Squash Risotto with Sage and Toasted Hazelnuts

This beautiful dish is just perfect for fall. Each serving offers modest amounts of protein, iron, and calcium, but this dish is just bursting with vitamin A thanks to the squash. According to the NIH, vitamin A “helps form and maintain healthy skin, teeth, skeletal and soft tissue, mucus membranes, and skin.” (1) It also helps produce pigments in the retina. Vitamin A is fairly simple to obtain in your daily diet; a serving of this risotto offers more than 100% of your daily needs. Orange and yellow fruits and veggies are high in beta carotene, which the body can convert into vitamin A. And now that it’s pumpkin season, I bet we’ll all be taking in lots of vitamin A!

What are your favorite flavor pairings?

Sources cited:

(1) http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002400.htm

Lazy Sunday III: Calcium-Laden Recipes You Should Totally Make

LVV MoFo 2014 main

Sunday again! Time to share some inspiring and mouthwatering calcium-rich recipes from my blogging compatriots. But first: happy birthday, Dad! Thanks for being one of my biggest fans. ;)

Now—on to the food!

And with that, calcium week draws to a close. So far this MoFo, I’ve covered protein, iron, and calcium. So what’s left? Everything else, of course! The next week will be a bit of a free for all; I’ll share recipes and break down all the details on their vitamin and mineral makeup. Any requests?!

What are your favorite calcium-rich recipes?

Saturday Eats: Lazy Edition

LVV MoFo 2014 mainOh, friends! This is the closest I’ve ever gotten to not posting on a MoFo day. I am currently in the car, passengering as S drives home from some friends’ wedding shower. I’m using his iPhone to post because I still live in the dark ages and have a dumbphone.

It’s been my custom this MoFo to share the nutritional breakdown of my Saturday eats, but I’m having a difficult time today! S and I hit up DC VegFest today, where I ate many food samples and a platter of veg sushi from a local restaurant. We didn’t have a real dinner, and then we had lots of snacks and a vegan pasta dish at the shower tonight (along with beer and wine…). Oy! I cannot measure those foods. Alas.

Is this a bit of a MoFo fail? Maybe, but I think spending half the day at a vegan festival might cancel out my lackluster post. :) Maybe.

Hot Pumpkin-Molasses Mug

LVV MoFo 2014 main

Real talk part deux: I nearly considered moving my Lazy Sunday posting schtick to today because, um, it’s Friday night and I’ve got things to do. (“Things” being “sitting around in my flannel PJ pants reading Agatha Christie and maybe drinking some wine if things get crazy.”) And then I thought, No, because “Lazy Friday” just sounds stupid. And then I thought, Maybe I can repurpose my Hot Molasses Mug! Blackstrap molasses has tons of calcium, and so does almond milk! And then I thought, No, you lazy fool. Stop being so lazy.

And then I remembered the Kathy Patalsky’s Hot Pumpkin Mug that I made last year for MoFo, and I realized that those mugs needed to meet. Stat.

Hot Pumpkin-Molasses Mug

Hot Pumpkin-Molasses Mug
Serves one

  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin puree
  • 1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses
  • 1/2 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Dash ground nutmeg
  • Dash salt

Blend all ingredients with a standard blender or an immersion blender until well combined. Transfer to a small saucepan and head over medium-low until the mixture begins to steam. Pour into a mug and enjoy.

~~~

I am, admittedly, still pretty lazy, because this recipe is obscenely easy. But holy heck is it good! It’s the perfect blend of two of my favorite flavors, with just a touch of pumpkin pie spices. And—get this—you will get 65% of your recommended daily value of calcium in this mug. 65%! (Well, assuming you use Trader Joe’s Unsweetened Original Almond Milk…) The iron content is not too shabby either at 24%. Guess my laziness paid off this time!

Navy Bean Biscuits & Roasted Garlic Gravy

LVV MoFo 2014 main

Real talk: Finding substantial sources of calcium has been more difficult than finding sources of protein or iron. I’m learning that although lots of foods contain calcium, they usually don’t contain a whole lot of calcium. That’s not necessarily bad; if you eat a varied diet, you probably acquire little bits of calcium from lots of sources. There just aren’t a lot of calcium powerhouses out there. So far this week, I’ve relied heavily on chia seeds, but let’s face it: woman cannot live on chia alone. It’s time to stop relying on the chia crutch.

In my search for a new calcium crutch, I looked to the ever-faithful bean. Most beans offer a bit of calcium, but nothing to write home about (per cup, black beans have 5% of the RDV, dark red kidney beans have 6%, and pinto beans have 8%). But one bean stands out: the unassuming navy bean. With 13% of the RDV in a cup, they outpace their legume companions by a long shot.

With this recipe, I’m taking full advantage of my new discovery. Navy beans make their way into the two main components of this savory plate of biscuits and gravy, and almond milk and tempeh help increase the calcium content.

Navy Bean Biscuits & Roasted Garlic Gravy

Navy Bean Biscuits with Roasted Garlic Gravy
Makes 16 biscuits and about 5 cups of gravy

For the biscuits:
1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup cooked navy beans
3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
3 tablespoons very cold vegan butter, cubed

Preheat oven to 450˚ and line a baking pan with parchment paper or spray it lightly with oil and then dust with flour. (If you’re going to chill your dough before baking, you can wait to preheat the oven.)

Using a standard blender or an immersion blender, puree the navy beans and almond milk until smooth. Set aside.

Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to a large mixing bowl and stir to combine. Using a fork, pastry cutter, or your fingertips, cut in the vegan butter until the mixture is coarse and sandy. Make sure there are no large lumps of butter remaining. Add the almond milk and bean mixture and stir with a plastic spatula or wooden spoon until the dough comes together. Don’t over-mix. It’ll be sticky, but that’s okay.

At this point, you can either refrigerate the dough for at least 20 minutes or go ahead and make the biscuits. Refrigerating the dough cools down the butter so that it melts into flaky pockets in the oven, but it’s not strictly necessary. When you’re ready to bake, place the dough on a clean, floured surface. Using a rolling pin, roll it to a little more than 1/2″ thickness. Use a floured glass rim or your favorite round cookie cutter to cut the dough into circles. Place circles on the prepared baking dish about 3/4″ apart. Ball up the dough, roll it out again, and cut more circles. Repeat until you’ve used up all the dough. Bake for 15-17 minutes or until the tops just begin to turn golden. There won’t be a big color change, so watch carefully.

For the gravy:
1 head roasted garlic, removed from papery skins
1 1/2 cups cooked navy beans
3 cups unsweetened almond milk
2 tablespoons vegan butter
1/4 cup flour, any kind
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fennel
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon sage
8 oz. tempeh
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

First, brown the tempeh. Add a little oil to the bottom of a large saucepan and heat over medium. Using your hands, crumble the tempeh into small chunks and add it to the pan. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until the tempeh is lightly browned on all sides. Be careful that it doesn’t burn.

While the tempeh browns, use a standard blender or an immersion blender to puree the navy beans, almond milk, and roasted garlic until smooth. Set aside.

Once the tempeh is browned, turn the heat down to medium-low and add the spices and butter to the pan. Once it melts, sprinkle on some of the flour and stir so the tempeh is coated. Pour in about a quarter of the liquid mixture and stir. Add a little more flour and liquid and whisk thoroughly. Continue until you’ve added all the flour and the liquid, whisking carefully to prevent lumps. When all ingredients are thoroughly mixed, turn the heat up a bit (if necessary) until the mixture just begins to bubble. Turn down again and let the gravy thicken, stirring frequently.

Slice biscuits in half, top with gravy, and enjoy!

Navy Bean Biscuits & Roasted Garlic Gravy

The navy beans stand in for some of the fat in the biscuits, making them less flaky than a full-fat biscuit. But once you top them with the rich, creamy, garlicky gravy, you won’t miss the fat! And you can’t taste the beans at all—I can testify to that. S was thoroughly surprised when I told him about that secret ingredient.

Two of these biscuits will give you 5 grams of protein, 11% of your daily recommended value of iron, and 7% of your RDV of calcium. Half a cup of the gravy offers nearly 7 grams of protein, 8% of your RDV of iron, and a whopping 17% of your RDV of calcium.

Now that’s something to write home about.

Gingerbread Granola

LVV MoFo 2014 mainS and I were at Whole Foods the other day, trying to stay focused, stick to our shopping list, and ignore the siren’s call of the bulk aisle, when he casually asked me whether I would be making granola again anytime soon. I opted to interpret that as a thinly veiled request and decided it was the perfect opportunity to play with a granola flavor I’d wanted to try for a while: gingerbread.

This granola took two attempts to perfect. I tried to get fancy with the first batch, substituting my beloved raw buckwheat groats for some of the oats, going a bit wild with the spices, and playing fast and loose with the oven temperature. The result was a crumbly, overly ginger-y, and slightly burnt batch. Don’t get me wrong; I still nibbled the crap out of it as I prepared the second batch. And that second batch was much improved.

Gingerbread Granola

Gingerbread Granola
Serves six

  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 3 tablespoons blackstrap molasses
  • 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup or dark brown sugar
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax
  • 1 heaping teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Scant 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 C crystallized ginger, diced

Preheat oven to 300˚ and line a flat baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a small saucepan, add the coconut oil, molasses, and maple syrup or brown sugar. Stir to combine, heating over low so that the oil melts. Once all ingredients are well mixed, turn off the heat and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, add all the dry ingredients. Pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients and mix with a large wooden spoon. Once the dry ingredients are thoroughly mixed and coated with the wet ingredients, pour the granola onto the prepared baking sheet and bake for 30-35 minutes, removing from the oven and stirring every ten minutes or so. Remove from the oven and let cool for at least ten minutes before eating.

Note: If you prefer a sweeter granola, feel free to reduce the molasses by a tablespoon.

Gingerbread Granola

Second time’s the charm, I guess! (Although I have to admit that I did slightly burn this batch as well… oy.) I imagine this granola would be fantastic atop a bowl of vanilla soy yogurt—the spicy flavors would play perfectly with the sweet, cool yogurt. Sans yogurt, you’re looking at nearly 17% of your recommended daily value of calcium in a serving, along with 6 grams of protein and 19% of your recommended daily value of iron. Adding a 6-ounce carton of soy yogurt will increase your calcium intake by about 30% of your RDV, depending on the brand. Take that, Whole Foods.