Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Pumpkin Cornbread - vegan

Pumpkin Cornbread

A few weeks ago, I boldly promised to keep this a "pumpkin-spice-anything-free zone," and I'm proud to say that's still true. I will admit, however, that I noticed a loophole and decided to take advantage of it. You see, I didn't outlaw actual pumpkin. Sneaky, you accuse? Yep. But, in my defense, loopholes are a proud American tradition, and it is technically fall now, so pumpkin is actually appropriate.

Pumpkin Cornbread, vegan

I came across a recipe for a honey pumpkin cornbread, started making it, realized my cornmeal was not-so-good, ran and got a new bag, finished the recipe, and after all of that, was supremely disappointed. It was dry. It was boring. It tasted like pumpkin but not at all like cornbread. Or honey, particularly, come to think of it. I knew I liked the idea in general, so I basically tore the recipe up (well, virtually tore it up. and by "tore it up" I mean I no longer have it Pinned) and started all over.

Pumpkin Cornbread - vegan

I switched from honey to maple syrup and reduced the volume. I got rid of an egg and some pumpkin-y spices. I introduced creamed corn to the ingredient list and reduced the milk. A few other tweaks, and I was ready to try again.

vegan Pumpkin Cornbread

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner. This pumpkin cornbread blends and balances both flavors so that you can really tell each is there. It's moist (even the next day) and not too sweet. In short, it's all the good things that cornbread should be.

Pumpkin Cornbread - vegan
a Short & Sweets original

If you make this when there is still fresh corn available, I think a handful of fresh kernels would be a tasty addition. I see no reason why you couldn't make either mini or jumbo muffins and adjust the bake time accordingly. Also, I haven't tried myself, but they should freeze just fine if well-wrapped.

If you are looking for a breakfast treat, drizzle some maple syrup over a warm muffin. It's fabulous on a fall morning. Otherwise, I recommend pairing these with black bean sweet potato chili or red bean chili. Or, if you want to go pumpkin-crazy, pumpkin chili

3/4 C non-dairy milk
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 1/4 C yellow cornmeal
1 C whole wheat pastry flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp vegetable oil (or melted coconut oil or vegan butter)
3/4 C canned pumpkin
3/4 C creamed corn
1/4 C maple syrup (or other liquid sweetener)

In a medium-sized non-reactive bowl or large glass measuring cup, combine non-dairy milk and vinegar. Set aside for at least 10 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400F. Grease a standard, 12 cup muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray or line with paper liners. 

In a large bowl, stir flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt together. Whisk oil, pumpkin, creamed corn, and maple syrup into the milk+vinegar mixture. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Divide batter evenly among muffin tins. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean or with just a few crumbs attached.

Cool for 5 or 10 minutes in the pan, then remove and serve immediately or allow to cool completely on a wire rack. In an airtight container, muffins stay moist for 3-4 days. 

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Weekend Reading

How does this always happen? It's not like the library is going to run out

hello and happy weekend! It's the first weekend of fall, though it may not feel quite like it yet (and that's ok). I'm dreaming of my first great apple of the season. My great apple is crunchy, probably red (or mostly red), and has a bold mix of sweet and tart. I haven't found it yet, but if I keep on keeping on, I'm bound to, right? Peaches and apples can't both be disappointing this year.

It rained again! This time, it was definitely more of a real rain. It was sustained over several hours overnight, and it sounded soft and nourishing. It was a pretty great sound to wake up to if you're going to wake up in the middle of the night. It was done by the time I woke up for good, but evidence remained through much of the day. hurrah! Now, let's have that happen a hundred more times, please.

Buddy helped me watch The Roosevelts this week, and I couldn't resist when he started dancing in his sleep. #sorrynotsorry

Also this week here in Short & Sweets land, I shared how I make a better pb&j and some handy dandy food labels. How was your week?

Onto links!

Emma Watson is doing good. The sexual attacks on her are an attack on every woman. Be sure to watch her speech, too (video at top of article). Can you imagine giving that speech to the United Nations for crying out loud when you were just 24?

As women and families have been doing for just about ever - when abortions are illegal, they find ways to get them. This sounds like one of the better ones.

Are you a pie baker? An ah-ha moment from a master about making crust.

Beautiful challah

Fortune and Food & Wine got together and came up with a list of the most innovative women in food and drink

Learning to let yourself off the hook.

Go Barley looks like a good cookbook to peruse this fall.

As it's officially fall, and therefore the start of soup season, this white bean and arborio rice soup sounds good.

3 vegetarian substitutes for gelatin.

Alicia Keys got naked for twelve non-profits she feels deserves your attention (and money). She's not wrong. 

Thirty years ago, TV gave us one of its greatest feminists.

A yummy looking gluten free cinnamon apple bread from KAF.

Food for thought: good gifts for families in need

Want more great reads? Check out all weekend reading posts here.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Food Allergy Labels for Your Next Party - free printable

Happy Friday!!

Today's free printable might help you next time you throw a party. It seems as though there are always a variety of food allergies/preferences/intolerances/pickiness/trends/whathaveyou to navigate when you feed people these days. Obviously, I have some sympathy for these people (but, come on, can you really only eat blueberries picked by fairies in the moonlight and washed with the tears of babies?). These signs should make everyone more comfortable

Holiday events, parties, and even weddings are obviously great times to use these, but they are neutral in theme, so I suggest you print a set (or two?) and laminate them for reuse. As someone who has dealt with my own and my family's allergies forever, it can sometimes be awkward to find out what exactly the food on the table is. As a host, I want my guests to feel comfortable in my home, and a large part of that feeling (at least for me) is knowing what is safe to eat. These labels are a fabulous solution. 

You can also go the slightly less classy route of writing on butcher paper. But these charmers are prettier!

I hope your week has gone well! Did you get a chance to try my pb&j suggestion? Any new favorite combinations? 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Build a Better PB&J - free of everything you want

Build a Better PB&J | http://www.katesshortandsweets.com

I can't take any credit for this one. My friend S nearly always packs her lunch, and it always looks super yummy and super healthy. I first noticed these sandwiches a while back; it took me a long time to give it a try. I'm SO GLAD I did. 

Here's the thing: I've never liked PB&Js. I like bread. I like peanut butter. I like jam. I like bread with peanut butter. I like bread with jam. But I don't like all three all together. I know. I'm kind of a weirdo. Even my mom thinks so. 

farmers' market raspberries | http://www.katesshortandsweets.com

But it turns out that I do like peanut butter and fruit. A lot. And just about any fruit will work here. While visiting, my mom made a peanut butter and nectarine sandwich she was quite happy with. Fresh blackberries are excellent. Sliced strawberries, sliced apples, and sliced bananas are all good. 

Besides the obvious benefit of no added sugar, you can make this breakfast/snack/lunch-if-you-add-another-piece-of-bread-and-pack-it-safely free of whatever allergen you need to. Regular or gluten free bread, any nut butter or sun butter, fruit of choice. It's that easy. 

build a better Peanut Butter Sandwich | http://www.katesshortandsweets.com

For those of you who like instruction to come with your food photos, here goes:
  1. Spread nut or non-nut butter of your choice on a favorite slice of bread.
  2. Arrange fruit or slices of fruit (if large, like strawberries, bananas, apples, peaches, etc) on top in rows, or however the fruit is telling you to do so. 
  3. If you're extra hungry, spread another piece of bread with nut/non-nut butter and place, sticky side down, on top of fruit. 
  4. Eat. Enjoy. nom nom nom
I especially like this in the morning with a hot cup of tea. 

Have you tried this before? What are your favorite combinations?

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Weekend Reading

it rained! (however briefly)

Weekend reading is back! 

Other than that, the big news here is that it rained! Water actually came down from the sky. It wasn't long, and it wasn't much, but it was welcome nonetheless. I fully admit to running outside to smell it and feel it on my face. I went back inside, ate breakfast, and by that time, the rain was done. Sad face. 

I don't really have any exciting weekend plans- how about you? I think we are going to fill our time with exciting things like laundry, cleaning, errands. Sexy stuff. But it's those chores that help make a house a home, don't you think? 

This week on Short & Sweets, I shared my fruit topped citrus olive oil mini muffins (because mini is better), and found you cute labels for your herb and spice jars. (because Friday free printables are also back)

active cuddling.

Onto links!

Slow Flowers is a database of florists and farms around the U.S. that offer American, locally grown blooms. With all this beauty, who needs their flowers to fly up from South America?

For those of us still hanging on to summer, cucumber lemonade from the always delicious Smitten Kitchen.

6 crazy GIFs that really show the startling reality of California's drought. (side rant: stop watering your lawns, people!)

Herb-infused whipped cream. hmmm. Interesting!

Do you need some cuteness in your morning? Seth Casteel photographed puppies in a pool. That's right. Underwater puppies learning to swim. They're hard not to smile at.

On growing up.

A list of the best apples for baking.

on finding beauty. and kindness.

A handy guide to tofu.

Barnraiser - like Kickstarter, but for farmers. Sounds intriguing.

(vegan) Peach Cardamom Pie with a coconut oil crust. I've been contemplating trying that idea out for a while, so I'm happy to see that Ashlae has figured it out for me

Curried Roasted Eggplant with Smoked Cardamom and Coconut Milk sounds good, even though I don't love eggplant. and it looks really pretty.

From Bon Appetit, an interesting look at what a recipe editor does.

And in a shameless plug, I made some banana bread granola this week, and I'm still in love with it.

Want more great reads? Check out all weekend reading posts here.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Printable Herb & Spice Jar Labels

Happy Friday! I realized that at some point I let my tradition of free-printable-Friday posts lapse. Bad blogger. So I thought it would be a good idea to bring it back. Good blogger. (here's hoping I can remember to keep it up!)

I always find it fun to go on interweb hunts for free printables that aren't totally out there in crazy land. And by crazy land, I mean printables for projects not based in reality, but instead in Pinterest-Land, which is a different (crazy) beast altogether.

So today I'm sending you over to Lia Griffith for these charming herb and spice labels. There are two designs: this chalkboard style and another that looks like kraft paper. Perhaps you're using this in-between time of year to do some back-to-school, autumnal, or pre-holiday madness cleaning or organizing (and perhaps you'd like to come visit?). If so, I think these labels are a great option to not just feel more organized but to look more organized, which is sometimes really the key to these things. Sometimes I think I should really do something about my own unorganized mishmash of herbs and spices, but, well if it ain't broke and all that...

That, and we don't have a printer these days.

Happy weekend!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Fruit Topped Citrus Olive Oil Muffins - dairy free

Blueberry Topped Citrus Olive Oil Muffins | http://www.katesshortandsweets.com

Can we take a minute and just appreciate the cuteness of mini things? They're just better.

That's right, take a moment. Enjoy the cuteness.

Now that we've got that (mostly) out of the way, let's talk about how delicious they are. Because they are. They're perfect little sweet morsels for parties, for lunch boxes, for a breakfast treat. And the other great thing about them is that they are relatively healthy. Heart healthy olive oil, fruit, and not an overwhelming amount of sugar means you can feel good ok about stuffing twelve into your mouth. Not that I've ever tried anything like that.

Fruit Topped Citrus Olive Oil Muffins, dairy free | http://www.katesshortandsweets.com

These (cute) little bite sized treats were very popular party treats last month. They're nice and light, sweet, and the fruit pieces give nice juicy bursts. Olive oil is one of those ingredients that people (ahem. Mr Official Taster) think sounds odd as part of a baked good, but, invariably, if they try it, they like it. Olive oil pairs especially well with citrus or rosemary, which makes sense given their shared growing region (like how tomatoes and basil go together).

Fruit Topped Citrus Olive Oil Muffins - dairy free | http://www.katesshortandsweets.com

You might look at the written recipe and think it's too fussy. Think again. Although these yummies are not one-bowl wonders, they're really pretty easy, hard to mess up, and worth a couple dirty bowls. Additionally, you could definitely make a batch and freeze some for later. Put them in your freezer, label them, and forget about them. That way, you will be rooting around looking for some corn for chili one day and come across your stash. It'll be on par with finding a $5 in your jeans.

But way cuter.

Strawberry Topped Citrus Olive Oil Muffins, dairy free | http://www.katesshortandsweets.com

Fruit Topped Citrus Olive Oil Muffins - dairy free
adapted from How to Cook Everything

The fruit topping is completely adaptable to what you like, what allergies you may be dealing with, or even what colors you want. Red and blue are great for July 4th or Memorial Day parties. How about star fruit? Red and green (kiwis, perhaps?) for Christmas. Or pink raspberries for a little kid's birthday party. You get the idea- have fun! 

cooking spray (or liners) for pan
4 eggs, separated and room temperature
1/2 C extra virgin olive oil
1/4 + 3/4 C sugar
2 C flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 C orange juice
zest of one lemon, orange, or lime (grapefruit should be yummy too)
chopped or whole berries (or other fruit)

Separate your eggs when you first take them out of the refrigerator because it's easier when they are cold. Then allow them to come to room temperature for 30 min or so.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray or line muffin or mini muffin trays.

Using an electric mixer, beat the eggs whites in a small bowl until they foam. Then sprinkle in 1/4 C sugar while still beating the whites. Continue beating until the whites hold soft peaks.

In a large bowl, add the olive oil and 3/4 C sugar and beat together. Add the egg yolks and beat until thick and fluffy (5-7 minutes). Mix in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Next, mix in the orange juice and zest. The mixture will be very thick and/or crumbly. If it's crumbly, add in a splash more of juice. Don't despair.

Add the beaten egg whites to this thick mixture. As gently as possible, thoroughly fold together the batter and egg whites. You may think they will never combine, but they will.

Spoon batter into cupcake pans. I used minis and topped each muffin with a couple blueberries or a slice or two of strawberry. Do what makes you happy.

Turn the mixture into your prepared pan and bake for 15-20 minutes (or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean), depending on muffin size. Obviously, mini muffins will cook a few minutes faster than standard size ones. (15ish for minis, 18-20 for standards) Let the muffins cool in the pan for 10 minutes or so, then remove and allow to cool completely on a wire rack. 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Blackberry Coconut Oatmeal Cookies - vegan

Blackberry Coconut Oatmeal Cookies | http://www.katesshortandsweets.com

In my mind, it's still summer. Yes, there have been a few chilly, fall-like moments. And yes, you can buy pumpkins and pumpkin flavored things at stores and coffee shops. But at the grocery store this afternoon, right across from the pumpkin display was an equally large watermelon display. Welcome to September. It's got to be the most bountiful month of the harvest. So here, on this tiny piece of the interwebs, we're going with summer. I'm going to join Deb and declare this a pumpkin-spice-free-anything zone for at least another couple of weeks. 

vegan Blackberry Coconut Oatmeal Cookies | http://www.katesshortandsweets.com

So, since it's summer, and since berries are still abundantly available at my farmers' markets, these cookies are a perfect way to savor the season. I love fresh berries in cookies, and these were a big hit at our big party a few weeks ago. They are tiny, perfectly sized, relatively wholesome treats. No, really. There are whole grains and fruit. See? Relatively wholesome.

Blackberry Coconut Oatmeal Cookies - vegan | http://www.katesshortandsweets.com

Were I even more on top of things, I would make up a batch or two, divide dough and form into logs. Next, I'd wrap each log in plastic wrap and stick them in the freezer. (oh, and, uh, labeling them is helpful. I recommend a sharpie and some tape) Then, come the dark days of February, I could take out a log, slice off some cookies, and bake up some summer. 

You know, to compliment my Pumpkin Spice tea.

Blackberry Coconut Oatmeal Cookies, vegan | http://www.katesshortandsweets.com

Blackberry Coconut Oatmeal Cookies - vegan
Of course, you can also make these not vegan by using regular butter and milk, and 1 egg instead of the applesauce. Yields about 50 teaspoon sized cookies.

1/2 C coconut oil
1/2 C firmly packed brown sugar or Sucanat
1/2 C sugar
1/4 C applesauce
1 tsp vanilla
3 Tbsp non-dairy milk (I used almond)
1 C flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 C quick or rolled oats, uncooked
3/4 C fresh blackberries, chopped if large

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and grease or line a couple cookie trays.

Cream the coconut oil and sugars. Add in the applesauce, vanilla, and milk and beat until smooth. Do the same with the flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Finally, beat in the oats. Fold or stir in blackberries, smooshing as much or as little as you'd like.

Drop teaspoons of dough (YES. teaspoons. Larger amounts of dough don't work very well) 2 inches apart on prepared pan. Bake about 15 minutes. Remove from oven, and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before transferring to wire rack to cool completely.
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