Completely Board Post #18: Crockpot Wild Rice Porridge

Veg-am's Completely Board - Vegan Month of Food 2014

Not only am I allergic to gluten, I’m also allergic to oats (yes, even if they’re certified gluten free).  I try not to whine too much about the things I can’t have since there are so many things I can have.  But, I miss hot oatmeal.  I like the hearty texture and the way it just screams warm comfort on a cool morning.  I’ve used quinoa flakes and they’re decent (though a little strong) and I like warm buckwheat, but I’m always on the lookout for another warm cereal*.  I present to you this lovely Crockpot Wild Rice Porridge featured on the PBS website that I pinned a year ago. (It’s a non-vegan post, but they don’t show anything yucky…lists dairy milk as an ingredient…non-vegan site and I haven’t perused to know of the yucky factor.)

I haven’t had much wild rice, but what I’ve had in the past, I’ve always liked.  So I figured why not give this a shot.  Besides, when you add in dried cranberries and pecans, there’s not much that wouldn’t taste good to me.
Yes, all you do is throw all the ingredients in the crockpot, stir, and leave it for a few hours.  When you come back to it, it’s ready to top and eat.   The only substitute I made was almond milk for the dairy milk.  And, I had to cook it just a little longer (about 15-30 minutes extra).  The one thing the recipe neglected to say that I think is important is to remember to rinse the brown rice.

After I dished it out from the crockpot, I topped it with a few extra dried cranberries and pecans, a tiny drizzle of maple syrup, and a couple dashes of ground cinnamon.  Then I sat down and enjoyed it in all its nutty, warm, comfort foody goodness. YUM!

Crockpot Wild Rice Porridge

* Technically, wild rice is not a cereal, but it eats like one here, so I’ll leave the biology lesson for another day. 



Completely Board Post #15: Maple Pecan Cookies

Veg-am's Completely Board - Vegan Month of Food 2014

It just wouldn’t be MoFo if I didn’t bake cookies.  Cookies are probably my favorite sweet, and they’re fun to share.  And while it’s not always a popular idea with a certain sister of mine, sometimes I just want a non-chocolate cookie.  These Maple Pecan Cookies from Wholly Vegan (MoFo 2012) seemed to fit the bill.

Maple Pecan Cookies Pin

From the picture, they looked soft while still a little chewy, so I decided to use the flour mixture that I use in the similarly textured Sparkled Ginger Cookies: 1.5 tsp xanthan, 1/4 cup sorghum flour, 1/2 cup garfava flour, 3/4 cup tapioca starch, 1/2 cup of arrowroot. In case you haven’t read my posts on cookies before, instead of a using a sifter, just “sift” the flours through a fine mesh sieve.  Unless there’s something I’m missing, cleaning xanthan out of a sifter can’t be done.

My review of my version of these cookies is mixed.

The dough is super sticky and hard to work with (refrigerate or freeze it for a little while and lightly flour your hands and it helps).  Unlike the gluten version, this dough does need to be flattened out.  I flattened the cookies out some and still ended up with puffy, cakey cookies instead of the chewy ones.  I did flatten out a few toward the end and got closer to the cookie in the picture and closer to what I would want.  I also made them too big (only got 35 out of a double batch…oops) and had to cook about 14 minutes.  At the correct size, I think 11-12 minutes would have been perfect (longer than the original, but that usually is the case with my gluten free cookies)

Gluten Free Maple Pecan Cookies

Honestly, if cookies were always all about me, I might not bother again or would at least make them all smaller and flatter.  They were good, but they weren’t crazy good to me.  The best part was that lovely pecan half right in the center.

However, I took them to my church small group meeting and people seemed to love them. I’ve come to the conclusion that it wasn’t a failure of a cookie so much as a failure to reach my own expectations.  They haven’t become a new staple, but based on other people’s reviews, I would make these again occasionally.  So, try them…they might be right up your alley.

Saturday Breakfast: Brown Sugar Arepas with Peaches and Maple-Cayenne Pecans

I took yesterday off from cooking/posting and spent some time shopping with my sister and our friend.  Then I saw 3, yes 3, movies (2 documentaries and Iron Man 3…again).  I got home late and just wanted to chill out.  But this morning, as on many Saturday mornings, I woke up ready to make breakfast.

Saturday breakfast is my favorite because usually I can take my time and just hang out in the kitchen preparing.  Then, I can sit at the table for as long as I want, enjoying the sunshine coming from the nearby windows and most often the company of my mom and my sister.  It’s the only morning during the week I can do this, and I like to just drink it in.   While I’m drinking it in, I usually want something just a little sweet.  If I can add just a tiny bit of hot to that sweet, it’s that much better.  Along that line, I present to you Brown Sugar Arepas with Peaches and Maple-Cayenne Pecans.

Brown Sugar Arepas with Peaches and Maple-Cayenne Pecans |Veg-am

I’m a big fan of arepas. I use them as sandwich/burger bread.  I stuff them with avocado, tomatoes, Daiya, beans, mushrooms, vegetables, and any combination of those things.  Back during Vegan MoFo 2011, I even made a bbq portobella/slaw sandwich in an arepa “roll”.   But I’ve never had a sweet arepa.  In fact, I don’t ever remember hearing about a sweet arepa.  It was time to give it a go. This is the yummy result.

If you’re trying to impress someone with your dainty table manners, you may want to hold these for another day. They are messy to eat, as the best arepas are, so keep a fork and a napkin handy.


Brown Sugar Arepas with Peaches and Maple-Cayenne Pecans
(makes 6)

  • 1 recipe peach filling
  • 1 recipe Maple-Cayenne Pecans
  • 1 recipe Brown Sugar Arepas

Start the peach filling first.  In between steps, you can work on the arepas.  After the peaches are removed from the heat, and the arepas are still being cooked, mix the pecans. The pecans go in the oven at the same time as the arepas.

When the arepas are cooked, slice horizontally 2/3 to 3/4 of the way to form a “pocket”.  I find that a small serrated knife cuts them the best. Stuff with approximately 1/3 cup of the peach filling and top with 1 to 1-1/2 Tbsp pecans.

Serve hot arepas immediately or keep warm by loosely wrapping in foil. Arepas should be eaten hot, as they tend to toughen up when they get cool. Reheat arepas by grilling again, or by warming in a microwave for 30 seconds and then slapping on the grill if you want the interior very hot and the crust recrisped.


Peach Filling:

  • 6 peaches, pitted, peeled and sliced (keep divided into two batches – 4 peaches/2 peaches)
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp arrowroot

In a small saucepan, place 4 of the sliced peaches and coat with lemon juice and sugar.  Cook on medium low heat.  When the peaches have broken down, softened, released their juices and started a low boil, reduce the temperature to low.  After a couple minutes, when the temperature has dropped, add the arrowroot, being careful to stir out any lumps.  Then return the peaches to a low rolling boil over medium low heat, stirring regularly.  When they begin to boil, once again lower the heat and allow the juices to thicken.  When they reach desired consistency (like a pie filling), remove from heat and add the 2 uncooked, sliced peaches.  Stir until the two kinds of peaches are well combined.  Let sit until arepas are complete.

While the peaches are cooking, make the arepas.


Brown Sugar Arepas:

Based on the Venezuelan Style Arepas from Viva Vegan!  by Terry Hope Romero

If you’re gluten free, be sure to check the brand of masarepa you purchase for possible gluten issues.  The most popular brand, Harina Pan, states that it my contain some wheat ingredients.  The brand I use, Doñarepa, does not and I’ve never had any issues with using it.

  • 2 cups white or yellow Venezuelan- or Colombian-style masa harina flour (masarepa)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2-1/4 cups warm water, or more
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • A small amount of vegetable oil (use a high-smoking-point oil, such as refined canola) for grilling
1. Preheat a well-seasoned cast-iron griddle or other thick-bottomed skillet over medium high heat. Lightly brush with vegetable oil. Also preheat the oven to 350F and have ready a baking sheet. The griddle is ready to use when a drop of water dropped onto its surface sizzles loudly.
2. In a large bowl, combine the brown sugar, warm water and vanilla extract until the brown sugar is melted.  Add the masarepa, cinnamon and salt.  Use your hands to mix   eliminating any lumps and creating a smooth moist dough. The dough should have the consistency of very firm, moist, and heavy mashed potatoes. If the dough seems too stiff, drizzle in a little extra water.
3. Divide the dough into six equal portions and roll into balls. Place a ball in your palm and, with gentle yet firm patting motions, begin pressing down your arepa. Use your palms to occasionally press the disk just a little flatter, then use your fingers to shape and press the edges outward. Do a little of this motion all at once while incrementally turning the arepa in your palms to work on the edges. Shape each arepa into a disk 3-1/2 to 4 inches wide by 1/2″ thick

4. Gently place two to three arepas in the preheated, lightly oiled pan, leaving enough room that they can be easily flipped. While the other arepas cook, place the remaining shapely new arepas on a cutting board and cover with either a damp, clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap. Cook each arepa for 8 to 10 minutes on each side to form a crust, flipping just once. Some dark, browned spots are ideal. Then place the grilled arepas on the baking sheet and bake for another 14 to 16 minutes, flipping halfway through. The arepas are ready when they have a firm crust and sound slightly hollow when tapped underneath.


Maple-Cayenne Pecans:

  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped raw pecans
  • 1 Tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 dashes salt
  • 3+ dashes cayenne, add to taste

In a small, foil-lined pan, add all ingredients and toss to coat.  Cook in 350F oven for 16 minutes.  When you pull them out, they’ll still be a little syrupy, but as they cool to room temperature the coating will harden in to a nice light candy. They will stick to the foil as they cool, but they peel off pretty easily.



1 food 5 ways, Sweet Potatoes, Way #2: Sweet Potato Pancakes

I’m not trying to build suspense with the last navy bean recipe. Because, really, I’m not even sure it’s going to turn out the way it is in my head. But, I forgot to pick up an ingredient that I really, really want in it. I daresay I need it in there. So, on to sweet potato way 2 (and possibly a couple other sweet potato dishes before the last navy bean post).

Saturday morning breakfast is my favorite meal of the week. I like to take my time in the kitchen and at the table. It’s a chill time. Unless I’m rushing out to Saturday cycling class, which I usually am, and then I have to wait and chill later in the day. But today I couldn’t go, so I got to make a classic leisurely breakfast. I present to you gluten-free sweet potato pancakes!
Sweet Potato Pancakes
Sweet Potato Pancakes
Makes 9-12, depending on size you want
1/2 cup chickpea flour
1/2 cup arrowroot
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking soda
1-1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1-1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 cup sweet potato puree, see note #1 below
1 tsp vanilla extract
1-3/4 cup almond milk
2 Tbsp canola oil
2 Tbsp maple syrup
Chopped Pecans, optional for topping
In a medium mixing bowl (preferably with a pour spout) mix together arrowroot, chickpea flour, brown rice flour, salt, baking soda, cream of tartar and spices with a whisk. Set aside.
In another medium mixing bowl, whisk together the remainder of the ingredients, except optional pecans, until sweet potato is completely smooth (there shouldn’t be any clumps). Pour this mixture in with the dry and whisk until everything is well incorporated.
Let the batter sit for 2 or 3 minutes to settle.
Pour out the batter onto your preheated/oiled cooking surface and cook until edges start to brown. This batter didn’t bubble up for me like your typical pancake batter so it’s all about how brown they are. Flip and cook the other side until golden brown. It took mine about 2-1/2 to 3 minutes on the first side and then about 2 minutes on the second side on an electric griddle set around 375.
Top with chopped pecans if desired. Then drizzle with your favorite syrup. Actually you can drown them in Earth Balance and syrup if that’s how you like it. But I’m a minimal syrup girl.
1. Make your own sweet potato puree by steaming chunks of sweet potato until soft and then whizzing it all up in the food processor until completely smooth. Easy peasy. The canned kind would probably work just fine though.
2. I got 9 relatively large pancakes. But I made one of them a little smaller just to see and they were a little easier to flip smaller. So next time I’d probably go for 12.
3. These are my favorite gluten free pancakes so far 😀


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