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Posts Tagged ‘recipes’

I won’t lie. Baking makes me feel good. Just thinking about baking actually makes me feel good … looking at yummy recipes, the photos that make me want to drop everything and run to the kitchen, considering the ingredients … all part of the process. (And I like to blog about baking!)

OBars-Ingredients2First, we gather the ingredients together. You might, (correctly), surmise that I collect recipes for eons, as this one, in a copy of Woman’s Day, carried a 2/3 page cigarette ad!  You won’t be finding
that in its recent history.

I committed to making a dessert for a volunteer picnic this Sunday for the local equine rescue I help. I wanted to also make something vegan, in keeping with my own direction, and also because when a bunch of people gather who are committed to the mission of rescuing horses, often from slaughter, (and becoming horse meat), there’s always a fair amount of vegetarians, and some vegans. I went searching OBars-Flour2through my recipes, and selected one without eggs and where I could easily replace the butter with Earth Balance vegan margarine. All other ingredients are vegan.

All you eagle-eyed bakers may have noticed something missing in that top photo – flour. NOW I have all the ingredients.

I’ve made this recipe before, but with butter and different flavors preserves. This time I also mixed it up and used brown sugar for half the sugar, as it’s such a natural with oats and cinnamon.This recipe is incredibly simple and whips up in no time.

OBars-BottomLayer2

After mixing the margarine, flour, sugar, baking powder and oat mixture together, the next step is pressing the mixture into the bottom of the pan.

OBars-Preserves2

Next, spreading the preserves to within a half inch of the edges.

OBars-Topping2

Sprinkle top with reserved crumb mixture and coconut.

OBars-Done2

Voila – Done!

One of the things that is most difficult for me is the concept of baking vegan. I don’t have a problem with not eating meat. I know enough about what happens to animals, particularly in the factory farming system, to not want to participate in it. But eggs and dairy, particularly when it comes to baking? Now this is rough.

OBars-OnePiece2Established vegans say that once committed, you won’t miss the eggs and dairy in food. Maybe not in some food, but in baking … I don’t know. As I go through my many clipped recipes and cookbooks, I can envision making a vegan version of some, but others? Simply not possible. I am in a quandary.

But for today, I made something simple and vegan, which, of course, I had to taste to make sure it’s safe for consumption.

Because I have modified this recipe significantly, I am including it here, should you want something fast and easy, vegan or not, (just use butter.) Enjoy!

Strawberry Oatmeal Bars

3/4 C. butter or margarine
1-1/4 C. each rolled oats and flour
1/2 C. sugar I used half cane sugar, half brown sugar)
1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 C. strawberry preserves (or peach, apricot – anything seedless)
3/4 C. flaked coconut

In 13 x 9″ baking pan, melt butter while oven is heating to 350˚; cool.
Stir in oats, flour, sugar, baking powder and cinnamon until blended. It will be crumbly.
Reserve 1/2 c. crumb mixture.
Press firmly onto bottom of pan.
Spread preserves to within 1/2″ of edges.
Sprinkle with reserved crumb mixture tossed with coconut.
Bake on center rack for 25 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool in pan on rack. Makes 36 bars. (per bar – 12 mg cholesterol with butter, 0 mg cholesterol with margarine.)

And now for me … back to the picture book I’m working on.

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What a shocking idea. Now this may not be so for some of you reading this, but baking for myself has been a rarely-indulged-in luxury for quite some time. And on the occasions when I do bake, it’s usually to bring to someone else’s house for a gathering. Well, not today. I felt like baking muffins, and bake I did. I went through my recipe stash with something apple in mind, and found it … Apple Buttermilk Muffins.

In broad daylight … the audacity. An accusing voice from somewhere within nagged me to get going on my taxes, complete another drawing, go food shopping, and please! Clean!

I’ve really got to get a better grip on that no-fun, party-pooper. And baking just for me was a step in the right direction. Perhaps I gave in a wee bit when I cleaned the whole top and hood of the stove, but really, we have to start out in a clean spot, right?

I popped in the Breaking Dawn CD – such a great album – gathered ingredients, and happily chopped, measured and whisked. Although many muffin recipes have you making 12 muffins, I always make 6 bigger ones. They came out gorgeous, and then I had the audacity to have more fun – yup, in broad daylight – photographing them. And then eating one. (OK, actually not in that order.) Mmmmm, mmmm, mmmm.

You can make these truly chock-full-of-apple Apple Buttermilk Muffins, too. They’re from the Mr. Breakfast web site which has way more than muffins; it’s got everything you could ever think of in the way of breakfast, which is my favorite meal of the day. Enjoy!

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I recently asked blog visitors to let me know what they are looking for when they use the search term “sad place” and come to my site, but I got not one reply. So I’ve decided to do a short post on the opposite end of the spectrum, “happy place.”

Here’s a happy place for me … all the ingredients lined up and ready to bake. This was in preparation for baking a chocolate layer cake for Christmas dinner. I was trying a new recipe as I am often wont to do … so many recipes, so little time … and the recipe sounded terrific. But I made a mistake. The recipe called for shortening. I used butter, my shortening of choice. The texture came out rather strange, perhaps because they meant to use something like Crisco? Not sure, but since I don’t use that, I guess I’m going to have to read more carefully next time and choose only recipes where they specifically want butter. The mocha buttercream frosting, however, came out delicious. Next time I will up the amount I make by 1/2. Who doesn’t love plenty of frosting?

Baking Round 2 was my favorite brownie recipe that I’ve made for years, dressed up with dark chocolate chips and dried cranberries. This was for a gift, but I did have to sample just a wee slice. To make sure they were safe for consumption, of course.

I am a happy baker, always from scratch, and a happy cook. Nowadays, I don’t have the time I once did to bake and cook, and I have to say, I miss it. I have a great collection of recipes I’ve made over the years, and I collect new recipes for all kinds of food, especially desserts. In fact, you might think I was creating extensive meals for a big family 3 times a day, to look at what I’ve clipped, saved, and hope to make.

But we all need to dream, do we not? Me, I dream of relaxed time in the kitchen … a happy place. I wish I were there more often. But it’s always possible. Maybe even tonight.

 

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