Challenge Accepted

I like to bake. I am pretty sure this is a clear statement. However, I always like to try new things. For me, baking (and cooking) is like a science experiment. I like to come up with ideas that I think might work (the science world would call this a ‘hypothesis’) and then test them out. I also like to bring in these science experiments to work to share with my co-workers. Lately, I’ve been feeling somewhat guilty. There is a gal who works for us named Kateland (yes, the Land of Kate) (pronounced like Katelyn) who is a Vegan and she’s also Gluten Free and Soy Free. So anytime I bring in something, I have to say its not Kateland friendly. Well today, I don’t have to do that anymore. I concocted a recipe ESPECIALLY FOR HER (because I love her so) and I am VERY proud of it. Not only does it taste amazing, but its also healthy(ish).

image_2

These guys were the main helpers for said gluten free vegan extravaganza that I had in my kitchen today. The Chia Seeds were like 5 bucks from Trader Joes, The GF Flour and the Vegan/Soy/Nut free chocolate chunks were from Wegmans. (Chia seeds can be used as an egg replacer!!! 1 tbsp chia per 3 tbsp water per egg. SIMPLE.

image

I also made my own almond meal/flour. This was a first for me, and, it was a knock out for the bread. It adds a nutty flavor and a slight crunch that can’t be beat!!! Its important to have another ‘flour’ or dry good in addition to the GF flour to keep it from turning to mush.

image_1

I was VERY anxious at this point. I had taste-tested the batter a few times to ensure its sweetness, but whether or not it would hold up in my hot box was a major concern. (::salute:: Major Concern). (HIMYM Reference….) The timing and the temperate were also a gamble. I had to make sure the thing wouldn’t burn on the outside, while the inside cooked to an even solidity. Nobody likes a mushy banana bread….especially vegans!!!

image_3

And voila! After about an hour and a half in the oven, this little guy made it! Even consistency, crunchy top crust. PERFECTION!!!

Vegan, Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

2 ripe bananas

1/3 cup cinnamon applesauce

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 chia seed egg replacement

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

A sprinkle of ginger (just ’cause).

Dash of salt

3 tbsp apple butter

3/4 cup almond flour/meal

1/3 cup raw cane sugar (I put it in the food processor for 20 seconds to break it down into smaller bits).

1 1/2 cup GF flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

Almost the entire bag of the chocolate chunks. (There would’ve been the whole bag in there, but I wanted to give them a taste test and, well, lets just say they’re really tasty!)

 

Preheat your oven to 350*F

Put the bananas and applesauce in a large bowl and mix until the banana chunks break down. (I throw these babies into my Orange Kitchenaid Mixer and give them a whirl with my whisk attachment.)

Add your vanilla, baking soda, baking powder, ‘egg’, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, salt and apple butter and let it mix up just a bit to combine.

Throw in your apple butter, almond meal or flour, sugar, GF flour and mix until its combined.

Then toss in your chocolate chunks and mix by hand with a spatula. Make sure you scrape the sides of your bowl to ensure no flour or other goodies are left stuck to the wall to ensure its a nice even sludge of tasty healthy goodness.

Put in a parchment paper lined loaf pan (I sprayed mine with non-stick spray just incase) and put in the middle rack in your oven for 1- 1/2 hours. ** IT REALLY depends on your oven on how long it cooks. I started at 60 minutes, and checked it, and then did 10 minute increments until a long wooden skewer could be put in the middle without any of the batter being liquidy and getting on the stick.

Let cool and then slice with a good serrated knife and enjoy!!!!

image_5

Be still, my heart.

 

Have a good one, y’all,

Sarah Montana

Advertisements

Catch’n some dreams….

 I’ve talked before about how I make dreamcatchers, and post them on my etsy page. While I haven’t sold anything on there (yet), I did get an order for 3 dreamcatchers on my facebook page from a dear friend of mine in Montana. The big gold mamma jamma that I have pictured in the photos I’ve posted on here, were something new and different I thought I’d try, and well, Breanne wants 3 of them exactly alike for her home and her professional massage studio where she works.

image_1

This is a pretty fascinating and inspiring thought- to know that something I created will be in a place where she is helping others relax, alleviate stress and reduce pain… It just makes me happy! I have been a long-time lover of all other forms of stress relief, and natural remedies so I am pleased to keep doing what I’m doing to make creative spaces a little bit sweeter.

image_2

I also have a couple who just bought their first home here in Philadelphia that would like a large dreamcatcher, and a large painting to put in their home. Janelle (one of the homeowners/friends) also has her own etsy account. There’s nothing on there right now, but she hand knits and crochets the most luxurious blankets and scarves and other odds and ends that are so gorgeous. I hope she makes some new treasures once they get settled in their new place. There is also talks of us maybe collaborating to make some fantastic things. I’ve got a few ideas in my head so I can’t wait to meet up with Janelle and talk about some ideas!! It is always fun to craft with friends!!!

image

Speaking of crafting with friends, my boyfriend and I are going to be turning 30ish next month (He’s turning 31 5 days before I turn 30..) so we are going to have a birthday party, which means we are going to craft up our own decorations, and make our own foods and snacks (and of course, cake!) I’m sure this party will be the inspiration for some blog posts! I can’t wait!!!

Have a good one, y’all,

Sarah Montana

3 – Ingredient Breakfast Cookies

I’m calling these breakfast cookies because I want an excuse to eat these whenever I want. Like most women, chocolate rules my life so if I can put it in something, I generally do. So lets get down to business, because it’s breakfast time somewhere!!!

3 – Ingredient Cookies
(Which are totally customizable to make them yours!!!)

IMG_1521.JPG

1 medium sized banana, that’s just starting to get its brown spots
1 cup quick oats
1/2-1 cup chocolate chips
(You can add anything to these, just about. Chopped nuts? Why not! A sprinkle of brown sugar! Yes!! Cut up fruit?! Why didn’t I think to put my strawberries in these?! Ugh. I fail!!)

Preheat your oven to about 325*F
Mash up the banana in a bowl. Then add the oats. You can add more or less oats as you please. Then add your extra fixins and stir up to combine. Put some parchment paper on a cookie sheet, and scoop some ‘dough’ out with your hands. I made enough for 3 good size cookies. I mashed them together a bit and shaped them into a cookie and flattened them to a good even thickness and put on the cookie sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes. I think I did 23 because I wanted some extra brown-ness on the bottom.
Remove and eat up! I melted some cookie butter to put on one of them and oh. My. God.

IMG_1520.JPG

Have a good one, y’all!
Sarah Montana

Sad day for a parfait.

20140811-221609-80169002.jpg

I spent my day off resting in bed. Blame it on the joys of being a woman. Once the Midol kicked in, and I was feeling better, I took a trip to our local grocery store to pick up some produce and food that was needed to fill the fridge and keep our bellies full of home cooked awesomeness for the week. I always get inspired when I am there. Something about surrounding myself with endless possibilities… In any case. I came home and of COURSE had a hankering for something sweet. Douglas took on the job of cooking our meal and did a rather lovely job. He made a gorgeous and colorful vegetable stir fry with some thin beef strips and brown rice. He added some tikka masala sauce to his meal, and I just sprinkled some teriyaki sauce on mine (my tummy can only handle light and bland foods on the first and second day of my period). So to compliment our meal, I made a parfait. And not just any parfait: a chia seed and yogurt and peach parfait.

20140811-215437-78877012.jpg
Layers of goodness!!

Peach, Chia Seed Pudding and Yogurt Parfait
(Serves two)

Chia Seed Pudding
1/4 cup milk (we drink organic 2% round here)
3 tbsp chia seeds
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/2 tbsp honey (optional, use more or less to sweeten to your liking).

Mix all ingredients together and put in the fridge. Stir it every 5-10 minutes to help it thicken without clumping.

Yogurt
1 cup Greek yogurt (I prefer Fage 0% Greek yogurt myself)
2 tbsp sweet cream coffee creamer (in my defense, I was being creative with what I had)
1 tbsp honey
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp vanilla protein powder (optional)

Whisk all in a bowl and set in the fridge until you are ready to assemble the parfait.

Dice one peach into small pieces and sprinkle with a little sugar, agave or nothing. Whatever tickles your fancy.

Assembly

Using two jam canning jars or small mason jars or one mason jar (if you want to be selfish (I wouldn’t blame you it’s soooo good)), spoon yogurt into your jar so there’s a good even layer. Then spoon a heaping spoonful of chia seed pudding on top. Then, put a layer of peaches, some oatmeal, granola, ground almonds, or whatever you want on top. I put a heaping spoonful of oats. Then drizzle a little honey. Repeat all steps until your jars are full. We had enough to do two of each layers. Top with honey or sugar or whipped cream or fruit or what have you and you can either dig in right then and there, or close it and save it for later. Douglas and I both are ours in minutes. They were TOO. GOOD.

20140811-220628-79588815.jpg

I could have eaten two of these mamma jammas myself…..

Lastly, I would like to end this by saying the world lost a brilliant actor tonight, and by far my most favorite actor of all time, Robin Williams. His talent was endless and his roles touched the lives of many. It broke my heart to read of his passing. I actually walked into the kitchen while Douglas was cooking dinner, and broke the news to him as tears were rolling down my face. Suicide is a preventable death and if you are ever feeling the deepest sorrows, reach out to someone. Anyone. There are countless suicide hotlines. Please. Don’t make your family and friends go through the pain of your loss. Take care of
each other and look out for one another and know someone in this world loves you for who you are because you are perfect.

20140811-221308-79988543.jpg

RIP

Have a good one, y’all,
Sarah Montana

Hey Baby!

Have you ever heard of a Dutch Baby Pancake? I used to get them when I was younger and living in Florida from this place called ‘The Original Pancake House.’ It’s one of my favorite restaurants down there, because they serve pancakes. And let me tell you: pancakes are my FAVORITE food in the world. (Well, and crepes…) They would take 30 minutes to make, so you had to be patient at this place. I used to go with my Dad for my birthday. And it was an apple dutch baby. Imagine, if you will, apple pie and pancakes having a baby….. Are you drooling yet?

So with my passion for baking and cooking and creating, I decided to embark on the dutch baby making world.

Batter

Lucky for everyone: they are SUPER easy. For a basic dutch baby, all you need is flour, eggs, butter, milk, salt, vanilla and sugar. And a blender. Once you get the basic recipe down, its up to you to really take that to the next level by adding fruit or chocolate chips or whatever tickles your fancy!!!

Easy Dutch Baby Pancake Recipe

Serves 1-4 (depending on how hungry you are… I ate half of it all by myself!)

(Adapted from a recipe by Alton Brown!)

3 Tbsp butter, divided

1/2 cup all purpose flour

3 Tbsp sugar

pinch of salt

1/2 cup milk, room temperature (he says whole, I used 2%….)

2 eggs, room temperature

1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 375*F

Put 2 Tbsp butter in a cast iron skillet and place in the pre-heated oven to melt.

Put all of the ingredients into your blender (and your extra tbsp of your butter!) and mix up for 1 minute, until all ingredients are well blended, and some air has been whipped into it.

Pour into your skillet once the butter is melted in the pan and place into the oven for 20-25 minutes.

Remove and serve immediately.

ENJOY!!!!

Sweet tasty heaven!

Don’t be surprised if you want to eat the whole thing. It’s so wonderful and delicious.  Let me know if you make it and how it goes!!!

Have a good one, y’all!

Sarah Montana