Easy Little Vegan Bread

Easy Little Vegan Bread >> Guinea Pigging Green

As you probably know by now, Laura and I have a lot of New Year’s Resolutions. But I also have a lot of resolutions that are ongoing, that I’m always trying to work on. One of those is to cook more at home, which is why my birthday list this year included the item “bake 25 breads”. Yes, 25 is a lot, but I love bread, and I want to get much better at baking it, which is what big goals are really good for.

Easy Little Vegan Bread >> Guinea Pigging Green

You might barely want to bake one bread this year and that’s totally fine. But if you do feel like making one, and you’re new to the use of yeast, this would be a great recipe to start with. “Easy” and “little” are in the name of the recipe, it only needs to rise for half an hour, and it doesn’t require any fancy ingredients. Not to mention all the benefits of making your own bread, namely that it’s fresher, healthier and tastier than most store-bought loaves. While we definitely still buy bread, I am really enjoying experimenting with baking my own.

Easy Little Vegan Bread

Adapted (slightly) from 101 Cookbooks

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cup warm water
  • 2 tsp active dry yeast (one packet)
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 cup white flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt

Sprinkle the yeast over the warm water in a large bowl. Stir, then add the maple syrup and stir again. Let the mixture sit for 5-10 minutes.

Easy Little Vegan Bread >> Guinea Pigging Green

Mix together the flours, oats and salt, then add to the yeast mixture and stir well.

Grease a loaf pan, then add the dough, cover with a damp cloth and let it rise for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350F, and when it’s at temperature, bake the loaf for 35-40 minutes or until it’s becoming golden brown.

Turn out of the pan right away and let it cool on a rack.

Easy Little Vegan Bread >> Guinea Pigging Green

It’s super delicious, very easy, and great served warm with your favourite spread. Enjoy!

-Steph

DIY Homemade Almond Butter

Almond Butter >> Guinea Pigging Green

Until a couple of days ago, I had never made a nut butter from scratch. Even though I’m a green guinea pig! Even though I like to try new things all the time! Even though I lived in Korea for a year where all nut butters are absurdly expensive but the nuts themselves are not!

I think I always thought it was a harder process than it is. I figured you needed fancy equipment and you probably had to soak things for 72 hours and add tahini which I never seem to have on hand.

Almond Butter >> Guinea Pigging Green

Here in Quito, nut butters are a rare thing. A very small jar of peanut butter is more than $5, and almond butter is nowhere to be found. I figured now was as good a time as any to conquer the nut butter, and guess what I soon realized?

Surprise! It’s the easiest thing ever!

It helped that Laura and I had seen a demo run by the ladies behind DIY Vegan at the Toronto Veg Food Fest. They made almond butter from scratch in less than ten minutes, and my eyes were finally opened. Now, in the center of my kitchen table are two little jars full of peanut butter and almond butter, made as cheaply and easily as can be.

Almond Butter >> Guinea Pigging Green

Do you want the “recipe”?

Okay. Toast your nuts in a pan on low heat for about five minutes, making sure not to burn them. This gives your finished nut butter a deeper, richer taste – really delicious. Add them to a food processor or blender, and blend on high for a minute or two. Stop, scrape down the sides, and repeat. The heat from the processor will start to release the natural oils from the nuts and create a smooth paste. Continue to stop and scrape the sides until it’s totally smooth. Add salt to taste, and you’re done!

For the peanut butter, it was very much the same process, save the slightly tedious step of removing the skins of the peanuts. One way to make that step faster is to rub the nuts inside a tea towel to help the skins come off more easily.

Almond Butter >> Guinea Pigging Green

Once the butter is at a consistency you like, scrape it into a little recycled jar – ours used to hold store-bought guacamole! If you’re a fan of crunchy nut butters, remove about a 1/4 cup of nuts from the food processor at the beginning, after giving them a quick pulse to chop them up, and stir it back in at the end.

And there you are! Easy, delicious, and so inexpensive. Our peanut butter cost us exactly 60 cents to make, since a bag of raw peanuts in their skins was 1.20 at our local grocery store. The almond butter would be a little bit more, but still so cost-effective compared to buying it made! Plus, you get to avoid excess sugar, preservatives, and other chemicals.

From one green guinea pig to another, this will be the easiest thing you do all week. I hope you enjoy!

-Steph

DIY Homemade Coconut Milk

Coconut Milk >> Guinea Pigging Green

It’s no secret that here on Guinea Pigging Green we adore DIY things. We’ve talked about how to make your own deodorant (weird, but it works!), how to make some beauty products at home, and more recently how to start your own podcast! We love to DIY because it’s fun, it’s usually healthier and more natural, and it’s often cheaper.

Take this DIY homemade coconut milk, for example. I’m living in Ecuador now, where coconuts abound. My boyfriend’s uncle actually has a farm with a bunch of coconut trees (insert stunned-face emoji here) so for us, the coconuts were actually free. You might not be so lucky with the prices in Canada (sorry, Laura) but if you can get your hands on some I can promise the results are so worth it.

We’ve made this milk twice so far, and it has always been absolutely delicious. It’s creamy, it’s so delicious and it’s so fresh and healthy. It takes a lot of work, but that’s half the fun!

Coconut Milk >> Guinea Pigging Green

We used this recipe from Always Order Dessert for making coconut milk from fresh coconuts. I have a natural hemp nut milk bag similar to this one (I bought mine at Goodness Me in Burlington, Ontario) that we use to make milks like this one silky smooth. We used the leftover coconut pulp to make a delicious toasted coconut almond granola – recipe coming soon!

The first step is to split open your coconuts. This was accomplished by my boyfriend, a large kitchen knife and an old rolling pin. First, slice off the top part of the coconut (the knobbly bit). Then, you cut a triangle into the top of the coconut until you get inside the inner shell, and then drain the liquid into another container. Use the rolling pin to kind of hammer the knife through the coconut shell until it splits open. This takes a whole lot of trial and error, but there are also great videos you can watch to help you out.

Coconut Milk >> Guinea Pigging Green

Then, use a butter knife to pry the white meat away from the shell. I find it easiest to kind of go around the whole perimeter of the coconut using the knife to dig in between the shell and the meat, and often if the coconut is pretty fresh it will pop out whole.

Coconut Milk >> Guinea Pigging Green

Next, wash off your coconut. Boil 2 cups of water for every coconut you have (successfully) opened. Cut the coconut meat into small bite-size pieces – eat a couple of them! Into your blender go the coconut meat, the reserved coconut water, and the boiling water. Blend on high for at least 5 minutes and don’t be alarmed if your blender gets really hot. We need the heat in there to emulsify the fat from the coconut meat.

Coconut Milk >> Guinea Pigging Green

Then pour your mixture into your nut milk bag and squeeze the heck out of it! Alternatively you could use a very fine sieve. The resulting milk will be warm and delicious so just try to stop yourself from having a glass of it right away. Save the (relatively) dry coconut pulp to use in granola, cookies, or myriad other delicious things!

We usually freeze about half the coconut milk into ice cubes and then store in a plastic bag in the freezer for smoothies! The milk only stays good for a few days in the fridge, so drink it in a timely manner. I’m currently eating a sad, dry bowl of granola because we drank all our coconut milk… So enjoy it while it lasts! It’s awesome.

-Steph