I had some bosc apples that weren’t going to last much longer. They’d been picked from an organic orchard on Cortes Island, BC back in late September. We were given an 8lb sack of them at that time and I had made some into apple sauce, and the rest were eaten fresh, but they were becoming increasingly mealy with every day that passed, so I decided it was time to get some baking done. I’m not an enormous fan of apples or apple-products but I do like a good apple cake or muffin. These fit that description to a “tee”. I even got a little fancy and added in some finely chopped crystalized ginger I’d had lurking in the dried fruit bin for almost a year, and put a little powdered ginger into the cake batter for good measure. The texture of these muffins can only be described as velvety and soft. Not moist, and not overly dense, either – which I’m attributing to the use of the soy yogurt. It’s not something I always have on hand (the kids have decided they don’t like it anymore, so I had to use up the last of what was in the fridge. However I would buy soy yogurt again and again if it meant we would be eating delicious soft rich muffins like these more often.

 

Wonderful, Appleful

Apple-Ginger Muffins

2 cups flour (I used half unbleached wheat, and half whole grain spelt)

1 cup dark brown sugar

1 1/2 tbsp baking powder

1 tbsp cinnamon

2 tsp ground ginger (or more, to taste)

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp sea salt

1 cup plain or fruit soy yogurt (if it’s sweetened, you may wanna reduce the sugar used slightly)

2/3 cup non-dairy milk whisked with 1 tsp apple cider vinegar

1/3 cup vegetable oil

2 cups peeled and diced apples

1/2 cup finely chopped crystalized ginger

Preheat oven to 400F. Line 24 muffin tins with paper cups or prepare them with grease and flour.

In a large bowl, sift all the dry ingredients together and stir in the brown sugar until it’s well incorporated. In a seperate bowl or large measuring cup, whisk the soy yogurt, non-dairy milk + vinegar, and vegetable oil together until smooth. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and add the liquid mixture. Stir until just mixed and there are still even some streaks of dry mix apparent. Fold in the chopped apples and crystalized ginger. Portion the batter into the prepared muffin tins (only fill each tin about half to two-thirds of the way to the top). I like to use an ice cream scoop for this job. Bake on the middle shelf for 25 – 30 minutes or until they test done. Let the pans cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes before trying to remove the muffins. Enjoy warm with “butter”, “cream cheese” or your favourite preserves.

Yesterday I touched briefly on the topic of my kids’ school lunches and decided today I’d write a little more about them. Being vegan they face some unique challenges when it comes to packed lunches; living with a set of parents who prefer them to have whole foods as often as possible adds to those challenges. And put one of them in a school where there are two kids with known, severe peanut allergies and you’re probably wondering what on earth they could possibly pack every day that would be 1) delicious, 2) nutritionally adequate and 3) not get them too many funny looks from the other kids.

We’re still working on number 3. But we’ve got numbers 1 and 2 down okay.

Behold.

 

Left to Right: Yam Dip, Sunflower Pate, Toasted Sesame Hummus

Yep, my kids bring sandwiches filled with sunflower pate, whole wheat pitas smeared with toasted sesame hummus and yam dip with which to garnish their organic whole-grain crackers. Do they like these foods? Yup. Do they get teased about them? Sometimes, I imagine, though I have only heard of one incident where it got particularly heated. I just remember all the times I brought my homemade wholemeal bread sandwiches stuffed with soybean spread when I was a kid. Or my roasted chickpeas and raisins. I got made fun of too – but I still enjoyed the food and I’m glad my mom gave me a taste for wholesome stuff like that as a youngster. I realize now how much more delicious and less disgusting it is than balogne and processed cheese slices and Wagon Wheels. (Remember those?)

By the way, I insist you try making this yam dip yourself. Locals may recognize this as a staple on the menu offered by Foundation restaurant here in Vancouver. I boycott the joint now due to multiple instances of egregious customer service errors, and I don’t even miss it now that I can approximate their “Mingling Yams” here at home. You can do it too. Take 2 yams and roast ’em in their skins until they are nice and soft. Put ’em in the food processor with a matching number of garlic cloves. Add a healthy dollop of tahini, a few squeezes of fresh lemon juice, a pinch of salt and a glug or two of real maple syrup. Puree until completely and totally smooth like buttah. Eat with crackers, lavash bread, veggie sticks, corn chips, toasted pita, or a spoon.

Lest you get the wrong idea, my kids do occasionally get Tofurky deli slices and veggie dogs for lunches. Often they bring leftovers from our dinner the night before, depending on how complicated they might be to eat. They don’t always have as many fruits and veggies packed as I would perhaps like, either. I feel happy if I manage to get them to take one serving of these things every day. This has less to do with their willingness to eat them and more to do with the very minimal amount of time they are allotted to eat their lunches each day. My daughter gets 15 minutes before the kids are kicked outdoors – and they’re not allowed to bring food outside with them. My son does a little better in highschool now – it’s a 40 minute break and the kids can eat where they like.

Tomorrow is a day off here (lest we forget), so there are no lunches to pack, but I know what we’ll be having for lunch anyway.

Slow-Cooked Seitan Roast Dinner with all the Trimmings

That was dinner tonight. Can you say “Open-faced Seitan Sandwiches on Toasted French Bread Au Jus”? I knew you could.

By the way, I have really, really been enjoying Vegan Mofo. As a first-timer I was feeling a little intimidated but it’s proving to be more fun and less work than I’d imagined. And I am really, really loving checking out my Google reader a couple of times and day and keeping my finger on the pulse of what everyone else is doing. We rock.

 

 

 

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