Corn Bread – Savory Southern Style

So I find it a bit annoying to have to scroll through a backstory of the recipe I am looking for before reaching the recipe so let us put that after the actual recipe.  Sound good?

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Vegan, Gluten-free Cornbread

Ingredients:

1 and 1/3 cups Cornmeal

1 cup Buckwheat flour (if gluten is no problem, Whole Wheat or Spelt also worked well for us)

1 Tbsp Oil (grapeseed)

1 Tbsp Baking Powder

1 tsp salt

½ tsp sugar

1 Tbsp Flax Meal

½ cup plant-based milk

1 cup water (used as needed)

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Coat a muffin tin with either cooking spray or give it a light oiling.  If using oil it will probably take about one additional tablespoon to get all 12 cups covered properly.

Combine all dry ingredients in a medium bowl.  Stir in the milk and about half of the water.  The mix should be thick and scoopable but not quite pourable.  I’ve experienced life with 6 different ovens and I have come to learn that cooking times and the water/liquid of most recipes requires some adjustments so I suspect this is a universal problem.   Just add water until the consistency matches the description and be confident that cornbread is pretty forgiving.

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Bake for 25 minutes.  As with most baked muffins and breads, you should be able to poke it with a toothpick and it come out clean.  The muffins should be quite firm but not hard.

If you have much experience with cornbread it might be noted that this recipe doesn’t produce the bright light yellow color that was typical of my MeeMaw’s recipe.  The whole grain flours seem to bring it to a light tan to even medium brown, especially when using buckwheat flour.  Don’t fret, their taste is quite authentic.

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Now… Story time!

The Plant Powered Gamers have had mostly smooth sailing on our Whole-Foods Plant-Based journey as resources and recipes are quite abundant when one begins to do a little searching. I was taken aback a year or so ago when Grant requested I make cornbread. Now cornbread is a staple from my childhood, as my grandma (MeeMaw, specifically) regularly prepared this delicious baked delight and I had made it traditional style with buttermilk years earlier. As I scoured the internet for a plant-based recipe I was shocked at how much “sweet stuff” and sugar was being put into the cornbread recipes. What was this abomination that others were referring to as cornbread? It looked more like a recipe for cornmeal cake.. why not add frosting? Cornbread in my little corner of the world is always prepared as a savory bread with only enough sugar added to balance flavor and bake properly. Grant and I have since been experimenting with this recipe in order to rectify the sad lack that must sit firmly in the lives of others, having been misinformed that cornbread was a sweet bread, and introduce them all to the wonders of our Southeastern style savory cornbread. If you have tried sweet cornbread and decided it wasn’t for you, I don’t blame you. It tastes rather “wrong” to me too. Give it one more try with this recipe and don’t forget to enjoy your muffin with a glass of plant-based milk or you may not get the full experience.

One note, if you prefer the traditional bright yellow cornbread you may have to resort to replacing the wheat/spelt/buckwheat flour with white flour. That is not a compromise I would take on a daily use recipe but for a special occasion I might consider as the bread made with the whole grain flours does as previously mentioned come out a bit more brown and has the appearance of basic whole grain muffins (ranging from light to medium brown).

Second note, for an interesting twist, replace the cup of water with vegetable broth to deepen the savory flavor.

Enjoy!

PlantPoweredGamers
Grow Strong. Game On.

Plant Powered Chocolate Muffin-top Baked “Pancakes”

After deciding to go completely whole-foods plant-based vegan a little over two years ago we were a bit worried that it would be difficult to come up with proper substitutes and alterations of “classic” meals and recipes.  Thanks to a few wonderful cookbooks and bloggers that I have to give a shoutout to below (see the end of the post) we made it through and at this point have even developed our own recipes based off of what they taught us.

Breakfast was one of the trickier situations.  After removing all of the typical meat products in the “Standard American Diet” which are so common at breakfast time, removing eggs, butter and yogurt we were pretty much left with toast.  Even in the case of toast we had to do a little searching to find bread that did not contain milk or eggs.  Fortunately we were already vegetarian at the point we made this change so we had already managed to work around the breakfast meat problem.  No dead animals for breakfast seemed like a win from the earliest notion, after all.

Pancakes have always frustrated me.  They tend to do well with a brand new non-stick pan but eventually begin sticking, burning or tearing and generally just make a mess after the pan has been used a few times, even with very careful use in my experience.  One day I had had enough and decided just to bake them instead.  The first few tries were kind of tricky, deciding the correct length of time and exactly how thick to make the batter, but over time I’ve learned how to get it exactly to our liking

The Forks Over Knives Cookbook provided us with the primary building blocks for what became Grant’s favorite “pancake” recipe.  Two years of practice of making this at least 2-3 times a month we have worked it over to suit our style and the process has really opened my eyes to toying with baked goods in general as the process of adjusting and substituting in the original recipe has assisted me in creating versions of quite a few deserts, muffins and breads.  I’ve really found it an enjoyable challenge to work with the limitations and try to find work-arounds and replacements as I experiment with different recipes.  Lucky for me I have one of the most articulate and honest critiques one could hope for – my little boy!

Enough of the back story, let’s get to the recipe.

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The ingredients are lined up and ready to get to business.

Grant’s favorite Plant-powered “muffin-top style pancake” recipe:

1 Cup Whole Grain Flour – we use Spelt or Buckwheat usually if available, but they cook up fine with Whole Wheat too.  We like Bob’s Red Mill Spelt Flour and Arrowhead Mills Buckwheat Flour, but we aren’t afraid to try a new brand if there is a great sale at our Trader Joe’s or Sprouts stores.

1/3 Cup Oat Flour – This is just blended rolled oats if you like saving money.  If you’d rather not bother just replace with an extra 1/3 Cup flour of your choice.  This isn’t exactly rocket science, so they generally turn out just fine either way.  I usually make this call according to what is in the pantry at the time.

1 Tbsp Baking Soda

3 Tbsp Cocoa Powder

3 Tbsp Flaxseed Meal

1/4 tsp Salt

2 Tbsp Maca Powder

2 Tbsp Maple Syrup OR 4 drops Liquid Stevia Sweetener

2/3 Cup Applesauce or “Simpley Sweet Potatoes” – Hybrid style, mashed

1 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar

2/3 Cup Plant-based milk alternative (Soy, Almond, Coconut, etc.)

2/3 Cup Water

2/3 Cup Chocolate Chips – Trader Joe’s brand is the most affordable dairy-free chips we have found.  These are okay to omit or reduce if you don’t have a huge sweet tooth.  Grant contends that they just don’t quite have their magic without the chocolate chips on top, though.  Reduce or remove at your own risk!

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Method

Preparation:  Preheat the oven to 400 Degrees Fareheit (200 C);  Line a baking pan with Parchment Paper or a Non-Stick Silicone Baking Mat.

Step 1:  Mix the water, milk, vinegar and syrup together into a measuring cup or small bowl and set aside for at least 3-5 minutes.  The vinegar will curdle the milk slightly, creating a “vegan buttermilk”.

Step 2:  Combine all dry ingredients into a medium mixing bowl and whisk to combine.

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Step 3:  Add the Applesauce into the middle of the dry ingredients then add the “buttermilk” mixture.  Mix until smooth and creamy.

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Step 4:  Stir in 1/2 of the chocolate chips (1/3 Cup).

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Step 5:  Scoop divide the batter onto the baking sheet into 12 “pancakes”.

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Step 6:  Bake for 16-18 minutes.

Step 7:  Remove from oven and let them rest for 3-5 minutes.

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Serve with Maple Syrup, berries, fruit, or nut butters… mix and match, experiment.  The possibilities seem endless!  Be creative and try whatever sounds tasty.

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Grant plated and arranged his breakfast himself for the photo op.  Congrats and thanks to my little sous chef!

Inspiration and Thanks

As mentioned above, the Plant Powered Gamers are strongly influenced by and owe much of the initial basis for this recipe to the following:

Chocolate Covered Katie’s Chocolate Brownie Batter Pancakes Recipe

Forks Over Knives Chocolate Pancakes Recipe (check the App Store if this is too pricey for you or just have no space for cookbooks.  They have a great deal at only $5 last I checked and regularly add new recipes for free)

Simply Sweet Potatoes – Hybridized Style

Baked sweet potatoes – probably everyone has had them and yet I am always shocked at how underwhelmed most people are by them.  The aluminum-foil method should just disappear, though, as I think it is largely to blame for this.  Let me introduce to you the amazing hybrid steam-bake method!

First, you will need a baking dish with a lid that can handle 400 degrees Farenheit in the oven (that is 200 degrees Celcius).  Warm up the oven and wash those ‘taters thoroughly.  You don’t want to be eating dirt and whatever else might have been in the ground when they were harvested.  Being a root veggie, sweet potatoes can be pretty dirty fellas’.  Put just enough water in the bottom of the baking dish to cover it to about 1/4″.  For my little dish that is about 1/2 cup but you can work that out after a few attempts for the dish available.  After the oven is warmed up simply cover the potatoes and bake for 60 minutes.  After that time has passed flip off the oven but leave the potatoes and covered dish in the oven.  I usually let them sit for another 30-60 minutes at least, but I have forgotten a time or two and left them in for several hours.  No harm, they didn’t mind.  You’ll find the water at the bottom has become a pretty amazing “syrup” that I often use in oatmeal or if I am having sweet potatoes over rice then it mixes nicely in the rice.  Super simple – I love these kinds of methods and/or recipes that are hard to “mess up”.

So give it a try and get rid of the aluminum foil.  There is some research suggesting that it may be bad for your nervous system anyway, so it may be advisable to not use it in direct contact with anything you’re cooking until more data is available and a more final opinion is made.

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These guys are ready to be covered and warmed up!

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Armored up to protect from scorching.  Specialized glass containment unit engaged!

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So it may be a little hard to see with the sunshine blasting into my kitchen window, but this couple is just bursting with moisture, sweetness and flavor!  The bit of water keeps them from drying out and as a bonus, sweet potato syrup is left to experiment with or just pour over the potato after you split it.  

PlantPoweredGamers
Grow Strong. Game On.

Warm Weather Approaches – Power-Up with Our Chocolate Smoothie Recipe

While mushrooms and floaty hearts work fine for game characters, us gamers need something a little more substantial.  Now I don’t mean to disregard the tastes of the residents of mushroomy kingdoms or intergalactic bounty hunters, but no matter what world you are on or what dimension you are in its hard to top chocolate!

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This recipe has been tweaked by my son and me for quite some time and it is currently the most requested over any other at a rate of at least 10:1, and as warm weather is quickly approaching a chilly chocolatey smoothie is starting to sound pretty appealing.

We generally use Orgain brand Creamy Chocolate Fudge Organic Plant Based Protein Powder  for the protein powder in this recipe.  We have tried a multitude of different brands and variations and this one consistently blends up the richest, smoothest and creamiest and never needs additional added sweeteners.  Feel free to experiment if you have a favorite of your own and feel free to share which ones you like and even any variations you make to our recipe.  We would love to try your ideas ourselves.

Ingredients for the Power-Up Chocolate Smoothie

1 Frozen Banana

1 cup Almond, Soy or other Plant-based milk-alternative

1/4 cup Frozen Blueberries

1 cup Frozen Spinach ( fresh won’t work here, I’ve made that mistake for you and can attest it simply doesn’t turn out right)

1 scoop (1/2 serving) Orgain Creamy Chocolate Fudge Organic Plant Based Protein Powder

1 tsp Cocoa Powder

1/2 tsp Healthworks Maca Powder Peruvian Raw Organic, 8oz

Preparation is simple; add all ingredients to a high-speed blender – ours is a Magic Bullet Blender and it handles all of the frozen ingredients brilliantly.  I usually blend for about 30-45 seconds, let it all rest about 10 seconds and then give it another 30-45 second spin.  Serve it up, power-up and Game On!

If you are reluctant to try “drinking” your spinach, give it a try before you opt out and you will certainly be surprised.  The spinachy sweetness folds into the chocolate nicely and gives it a flavor leaning towards the dark chocolate spectrum.  It is also important to include these leafy greens when powering up as they are some of the strongest antioxidants on the planet.

Maca Powder may be unfamiliar to you, we had never heard of it two years ago.  It has a caramel/malt-like flavor when added to smoothies, baked goods or oatmeal.  It has an interesting flavor that really grew on us the more we tried it in different recipes.  As a bonus it is packed with antioxidants and minerals and has a history of use to improve mood, energy and mental alertness – valuable bonuses when managing a bit of tricky platforming or dodging a swarm of enemies.  I cannot attest to the historical use but it does add a nice flavor to sweet recipes so we just count it as a bonus that it has some potential additional benefits.

Need help finding some of the more unusual or specific products we use?  Click the links in the recipe or the product images below and you will be taken directly to the a page on which they can be found.  As a bonus, using that link will actually support the Plant Powered Gamers.  Double Win!

 

 

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