29 ene. 2016

Pumpkin Banana Pecan Loaf

This is one of my new favorite loaf recipes, it's so good you just can't stop eating one slice! After some recipe testing, playing with different types of sugar s and flours I finally found the perfect texture: it's so moist, spiced and tender it really doesn't need any frosting, or icing...nor even some confectioner's sugar on top, though my sister suggested me that paired with cream cheese frosting would be awesome. But I'm trying to control my sweet tooth at least until march (my mom's birthday) so I decided to leave this cute pumpkin loaf 'au naturel', I love cakes and desserts that scream homemade and rustic.
I was very impatient to cut the first slice and check the texture but I highly recommend you to wait until it is completely cool so you'll get perfect slices with no crumbling problems. I decided not to call it 'pumpkin bread' cause I think it's more moist (and less crumbly) and sweeter than regular pumpkin bread, though I've seen some recipes on the internet that contains a lot of sugar and honestly I don't think this recipe should call for more sugar cause the banana, apart from adding moisture, also adds sweetness and helps to create a great texture.
The addition of the banana was kinda a last-minute decision cause my pumpkin was quite small and I got less puree than expected so...banana to the rescue! Now I'm so glad I combined these two, they make such a great combo.
I hope you try my recipe at home and tell me what you think or what changes and/or additions you have made. My stomach is growling right now and I'd love to enjoy a freshly baked slice of this loaf with a big cup of warm oat milk, but it's time to write down my ideas for february and start preparing some Valentine's Day special recipes.
Wasn't it yesterday when we were all baking Christmas desserts?! Can't believe how fast time flies, it's the last week of january and I haven't done half the things I was supposed to do. :-p

Banana Pumpkin Pecan Loaf
(makes one 8 x 4-inch/20 x 10 cm loaf approx.)

3/4 cup pumpkin puree.
1/4 cup mashed banana.
1 1/2 tbsp flax meal + 3 1/2 tbsp water.
1/3 cup + 1 tbsp sunflower oil (95 ml).
1/2 cup light raw cane sugar.
1/4 cup organic brown sugar.
1/2 cup all-purpose flour.
1/2 cup whole wheat flour.
1/2 tsp salt.
3/4 tsp baking soda.
1/2 tsp baking powder.
1/2 tsp organic pure vanilla powder.
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice.
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon.
1/4 cup pecans, roughly chopped.

- I recommend using homemade pumpkin puree. It's as easy as baking some butternut squash or other sweet pumpkin and mash it with a fork.
- You can use mild-tasting olive oil instead of sunflower oil.
- Flax meal = ground flax seeds. I combined the ground flax seeds with water to make an egg replacer.
- The vanilla powder can be replaced with pure vanilla extract, you should mix it with the wet ingredients then.

Lightly grease with nonstick cooking spray and line with parchment paper an 8 x 4-inch (20 x 10 cm) loaf pan.
Preheat oven to 350 ºF (180 ºC).
Make the flax egg by stirring together the ground flax seeds with the water in a small bowl, let sit for 5 minutes. With these quantities we have 1.5 flax egg.
In a large mixing bowl combine pumpkin puree, banana, flax egg, oil and vigorously mix with a hand whisk.
Add in sugar and mix until thoroughly incorporated.
In a separate bowl combine flours, salt, baking soda, baking powder and spices.
Add the dry mixture to the wet ingredients and mix with a silicone spatula just until combined. Finally, stir in the pecans.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top with a spatula and bake for 50 minutes approximately, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean (a few tiny moist crumbs are okay).
I recommend to check the loaf at 40 minutes and, if necessary, rotate the pan to ensure an even browning.
Once baked, transfer to a cooling rack and allow the loaf to cool for at least 30 minutes before removing from the pan.
Let cool completely on the wire rack, it is important to wait until it's cold to slice the loaf cake with no problem.
Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

18 ene. 2016

Lemon, Coconut & Ginger Energy Bites

I hate to put all my blogging tasks on hold, it really makes me feel frustrated and even though I swore to myself that I will learn to say 'no' more often, that I will  prioritize and don't put myself last (almost) every time...well, here I am, writing this post way later than expected and with lots of pending recipes waiting to be published. Can't stop yawning, I'm tired, my back hurts from coughing so much (first nasty flu of the season) and the post-christmas cravings are really making me feel grumpy. I guess all those small negative things sooner or later hit you and makes you lose perspective.
Okay, enough with the psychological rant. At least I managed to do some seriously ass-kicking workouts this week and looks like it helped me to ease the symptoms of the flu (also, adding fresh ginger to my tea works like a charm).
These energy bites have become my best friends lately, they are the perfect healthy on-the-go snack and an excellent treat after a workout session. When I'm halfway thru my workout and feel pretty exhausted it helps me to think that these protein-packed bites are waiting for me in the fridge. They are naturally sweetened (dates and dried figs, yum!), gluten-free, dairy-free and raw, plus you can make a big batch in the blink of an eye.
It's great to enjoy something so delicious and nutritious that help you get through the day and are filled with plant protein. Hope you like them as much as I do!

Receta en español próximamente en la web de El Granero Integral.

(yield: 22 balls approximately)

3/4 cup dates.
1/4 cup dried figs.
3/4 cup raw almonds.
3/4 cup raw cashews.
2 tbsp chia seeds.
1 tbsp coconut oil.
Juice of 1/2 lemon.
Zest of 1 lemon.
2 tbsp protein powder.*
3 tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut.
Ground ginger, to taste.

* The protein powder I used contains: pea protein, hemp protein and carob powder.

In the bowl of your food processor place the almonds, cashews, chia seeds and coconut and pulse until a coarse flour forms, around 1 minute.
Pit the dates, cut them in halves and chop the figs. Also zest and squeeze the lemon.
Add all the remaining ingredients and process until a stick dough forms, it should have a compact consistency.
Scoop out the mixture using a one-tablespoon measuring spoon and roll it into balls using your hands.
Place in the fridge for about 30 minutes before eating, they will firm up and will taste great!

17 ene. 2016

Guilt-Free Waffles

¡Happy New Year!
I hope you all said farewell to 2015 with a smile on your face and thinking about all the good things that happened. Remember to forget all the bad stuff...just keep moving forward and focus on those things we want to accomplish. Who knows, maybe the new year that has just started might bring a good surprise, but what really matters is to live day by day. I don't make New Year's resolutions cause it makes me feel like I'm putting myself under some kind of pressure or forcing things to happen. Obviously, like everybody else, I want to improve myself and do new things but in the end it's just another day of the week (a day to find a good excuse to indulge on sweets and a little bit of french champagne).
This time I had no doubt about what kind of recipe I wanted to make to welcome the new year, as some of you know I got a super mega cool waffle maker on Christmas (thanks sissy!) and I couldn't wait any longer to put it to the test...and damn! It far surpassed my expectations! It was my first time ever making waffles and I'm really glad with the results.
These waffles are dairy-free, refined-sugar free and gluten-free! Yay to healthy sweet treats that are actually good for you, help you kick that post-xmas sugar craving and are delicious as f*! Ooops, pardon my potty mouth! ;-p
The recipe yields around 12 waffles, it will depend though on the size of your waffle maker but if you don't want to make so many you can easily cut in half.

(yield: 12 waffles approx.)

1 cup buckwheat flour.
1/2 cup quinoa flour.
1/2 cup millet flour.
2 tablespoons ground flax seeds.
4 tablespoons potato starch.
2 tablespoons baking powder.
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract.
1/2 teaspoon salt.
2 cups oat milk.
4 tablespoons agave syrup.
4 tablespoons sunflower oil.

In a large mixing bowl stir together all the dry ingredients (flours, flax seeds, potato starch, baking powder and salt). Mix well using a wire whisk to ensure all the ingredients are combined.
Add in the wet ingredients (vanilla, milk, agave and oil) and mix again.
Let the batter rest while the waffle maker is preheating, it is really important to let it sit for 8 to 10 minutes approximately. This way the mixture will become more elastic and the texture of the waffles will be better, keep in mind that this a gluten-free recipe and we need to get a good consistence so the waffles don't crumble. To me the perfect waffle texture is delicately crispy outside and extra tender inside.
Cook the waffles according to the manufacturer's instructions.
Serve warm with the following options: fresh berries, walnuts, natural soy yogurt and some confectioner's sugar on top.

23 dic. 2015

Christmas Chocolate Barks

These assorted chocolate barks are the second part of the Spanish Soft Almond Nougat recipe I published last week, we call them here 'turrones' (singular turron) and they have been a total hit with my family! Now everybody wants a piece of these chocolaty delights every day and there are just a few squares left...I should make more!
I think this has been the year I've published more Christmas recipes but now it's time to relax a little bit and enjoy some quality time with my small family, actually I have a lot of relatives but rarely keep in contact with most of them (not gonna wash the dirty laundry here).
This weekend though I'll start to prepare the first recipes of 2016 and maybe I manage to squeeze one of them in my schedule right before New Year's Eve.

But for now let me wish you a wonderful Christmas! Eat, enjoy, laugh, hug tightly your loved ones and forget about the bad things at least during these days.

All my love,


Receta en español en la web de El Granero Integral.

Christmas Chocolate Barks
(yield: 4 barks)

- For the chocolate base:
225 g dark chocolate (70 % cacao).
40 g cacao butter (or coconut oil).
- To make the different flavors we'll add to the chocolate base:
· For the chocolate and puffed rice flavor:
30 g puffed brown rice (I used one that comes sweetened with agave and coconut).
· For the chocolate and puffed grains flavor:
15 g puffed oats.
15 g puffed quinoa.
· For the chocolate, nuts and dried fruits flavor:
90 g mixed nuts (walnuts, pistachios, hazelnuts, cashews, etc).
A small handful of raisins.
Two slices of candied orange, chopped.
Two drops of orange essential oil.
· For the chocolate & roasted almonds flavor:
100 g whole almonds.

Melt the cacao butter using the double boiler method and, once the butter has completely melted add in the chopped chocolate and slowly stir together until well combined. The chocolate mixture should look extra shiny and smooth. Set aside.
Puffed rice chocolate bark:
Add the puffed rice to the melted chocolate, stir well and pour this mixture into your silicone mould (I use this one to make my own chocolate barks, nougats, etc.). Let it cool for a few minutes at room temperature and then chill in the fridge until solid.

Puffed oats and quinoa chocolate bark:
Repeat the same process as with the previous flavor.

Dried fruits & mixed nuts chocolate bark:
Pour the melted chocolate into the mould and add in the chopped nuts and dried fruits. With the back of a big wooden spoon gently press down the chunks. Let it cool at room temperature and transfer to the refrigerator until completely solid.

Roasted almonds chocolate bark:
Roast the almonds in a lightly greased pan with coconut oil. Stir frequently with a wooden spoon to ensure all the almonds are evenly roasted. While the almonds are cooling melt the cacao butter and dark chocolate in a double boiler.
Pour into the mold half of the melted chocolate, add the roasted almonds (whole, not chopped) and finish coating them with the rest of the chocolate. As with the other flavors, let cool at room temperature and transfer to the fridge.
Once the chocolate barks harden it's time to unmold and store them refrigerated, wrapped with plastic wrap in an airtight container to prevent the chocolate absorb strong odors.

22 dic. 2015

Pain d' épices

My home smells so much like Christmas right now! I've been nonstop cooking and baking these days to have all these festive sweet recipes ready for you before the official family suppers begin and we are all too busy eating our body weight in all kind of decadent foods.
This pain d' épices is a classic french recipe, it literally means 'spice bread' though it's more like a loaf. So super spiced and delicious! Traditionally made around Christmas time in France (and other countries like Germany and, I believe, in some parts of the UK too) this loaf cake is entirely sweetened with honey so it gives a nice darker color and a more dense texture than other baked goods. I made a vegan version (though it's super tasty with honey too!) and added more spices to give a little twist to the original recipe.
I've read that the most traditional pain d' épices recipe must contain only four different spices, it's what the french call the 'quatre épices' blend and usually has cinnamon, nutmeg, clove and ginger. I personally think that in this particular recipe the more spiced your loaf is, the more delicious it will come out...and we all know that spiced sweets are the perfect treats for the xmas holidays!
It's an easy recipe, you won't even need to use your stand mixer: just a couple of bowls, your trusty wire whisk and a spatula. Also you can combine different flours like spelt, rye or even a gluten free version.
I hope you like it!

PS: Santa came a bit earlier this year for me and I got a super awesome Lagrange waffle maker. I can finally make true belgian-style waffles thanks to my wonderful sister...whom is already asking me to turn off the laptop and make her a big fluffy waffle. ;-)

Receta en español muy pronto en la web de El Granero Integral.

(6 to 8 servings)
150 g/1 cup all-purpose flour.
100 g/ 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp whole wheat flour.
150 ml/ 2/3 cups soy milk (or your vegan milk of choice).
70 g/ 1/4 cup agave syrup.
30 g/ 1 tbsp plus 1 tsp molasses.
85 ml/ 1/3 cup mild-tasting olive oil.
16 g/ 3tsp baking powder.
A pinch of salt.
30 g/ 1 oz dried figs.
30 g/ 1 oz dried apricots.
20 g/ 0.7 oz pitted dates.
80 g/ 2.8 oz walnuts.
- For the spices mix:
1 tsp ground ginger.
1 tsp ground cinnamon.
3/4 tsp green anise (or ground star anise).
1/2 tsp allspice.
1/2 tsp ground cardamom.
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg.

Mix all the spices together in a small bowl and set aside. One tip: when it comes to allspice and cardamom I prefer to buy the whole version and grind them at home to add a super fresh and more complete aroma to the batter.
Preheat oven to 170 ºC (338 ºF). Lightly grease a loaf pan with nontstick cooking spray and line the bottom and sides with parchment paper for easier unmolding.
Chop the figs, apricots, dates and walnuts into small pieces.
In a medium mixing bowl using a wire whisk vigoursly mix the milk, agave, molasses and oil.
In a separate large mixing bowl sift in the flours, baking powder, salt and spices. Stir together all ingredients to ensure they are well combined.
Add the wet mixture into the dry ingredients mixture and mix with a silicone spatula until well incorporated and no flour lumps are visible.
Finally fold in the chopped fruits and walnuts, pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes approximately, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.
Let it cool in the pan on a wire whisk and then carefully remove from the pan and cool completely.
Store in an airtight container at room temperature.