Why the blog?

I write as the Spirit moves me. I have prayed about what I'm supposed to do with my life a lot. A lot. Writing. Writing is what I believe God is leading me to do. Whether or not He wants me to write for anyone to read is His business. Much of my writing has been therapy for me so maybe I'm the only one who is supposed to read it. So, why the Blog? As a sounding board, a note pad, a place to keep my ideas and thoughts. A place to share and promote my books, and photography. Written prayers, a place to vent. Possibly, even a place for the unknown reader to learn about the love of Jesus.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

For the love of Gingerbread

Years ago, when my children were very young, I made sugar cookies and gingerbread cookies.  We spent hours together in the kitchen baking and decorating the cookies.  I must have gone through three or four icing recipes until I was able to get it 'just right'.  As the kids grew older and we all got busier, the tradition died out and was replaced with simple, less time consuming recipes.  Then, I became allergic to dairy and my whole recipe world changed.  It's been years since I've made gingerbread men and, quite frankly, I thought I could never eat them again.  

Until, that is, I discovered Google search and alternatives for butter.

Today, I made my very first batch of vegan gingerbread cookies and they are as delicious as I remember them to be.  I haven't delved into the icing yet.  Leaving that for the kids (now grown up) to do on Christmas Eve.  This recipe takes some time.  Grab your kids, an apron, and have fun!

INGREDIENTS:
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1-1/2 cup sugar in the raw (you can put it in the Ninja and grind it smaller if you'd like)
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 c unsweetened almond milk (not vanilla flavored)

4 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
2-1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 F.

In a medium sized bowl, add the sugar, oil, molasses and milk.  Mix with a wire whisk.
In a mixing bowl sift together the flour and the rest of the dry ingredients.  Add the wet.  Mix until well incorporated.  Roll dough into a ball and slightly flatten.  Wrap with plastic wrap and chill for at least one hour.

Roll half of the dough onto a silicone baking mat to approximately 1/8 inch.  Not greased.  May add a bit of flour.   Cut out your shapes. Remove the 'negative' dough leaving the shapes in place.  Bake for approximately 5-7 minutes depending on the thickness.  When the edges start to brown, they are done.

Allow to cool for a few minutes.  Less than five is plenty.  Use a metal spatula to transfer to a cooling rack or paper towels.  Repeat until dough is used.  Refrigerate cookies.  

To ice, mix 1/2 c powdered sugar with 1/2 TBS unsweetened almond milk or your favorite icing.

Gather your ingredients

Mix then place on plastic wrap

Wrap and chill

Take out of refrigerator and roll out to 1/8 inch

Cut out your shapes

Remove unwanted dough

Bake and enjoy!

Vegan, dairy-free gingerbread men




Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Pumpkin Pistachio Cookies and Pumpkin Graham Bread

My love for all things pumpkin continues.  I think I've turned into a bit of a food mad scientist.  I think of a few ingredients and ponder what I can create with them.  Then, I Google the ingredients.  When something catches my eye, I look at the recipe and immediately start altering it in my head.  Switch this flour for that flour, this sugar for that, this fat for theirs, etc.  Below are two that I've recently been playing with.  The Pumpkin Pistachio Cookies are a big hit.  They are moist and not as sweet as a typical chocolate cookie.  The Pumpkin Graham Bread has a nutty flavor, very different from traditional pumpkin breads.  Hope you enjoy and let me know how you've altered my recipe to fit your taste buds!

PUMPKIN PISTACHIO COOKIES:

1 c whole wheat flour
1 c rolled oats, ground fine or oat flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
3 TBS raw cacao powder
1/4 c chopped raw pistachio nuts
1/4 c finely ground raw pumpkin seeds
3/4 c sugar of choice. I use raw local honey.  Vegans may use Agave.
1/4 c warm (softened or melted) coconut oil
1/4 c natural applesauce, room temperature
4 TBS almond milk at room temperature or warmed
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 c pumpkin puree
*Optional, 1/4 c semisweet, diary-free chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325.  Have a silicone baking pad ready.  Do not grease or spray with Pam. 
Liquid ingredients need to be warm to prevent the coconut oil from solidifying.

Mix dry then add wet ingredients.  The mixture will be very soft and wet.  Once well mixed, put the silicone pad into the oven.  Using a melon ball or cookie scoop, scoop the mix and put on the pad.  (I tried using a baking sheet and parchment paper but the cookies stuck. It was a big mess trying to place the dough onto the pad and then move it to the oven.)  Either leave the cookie as is or press down with two fingers.  Bake approximately 6 minutes then let cool for 2 or 3 minutes before removing from the silicone pad.  I use a metal spatula or let them cool a few more and just remove with my fingers. 

Pumpkin Pistachio cookies


PUMPKIN GRAHAM BREAD

I made some graham crackers last month and had graham flour left over. Had pumpkin left over from the pumpkin pistachio cookies.  Hmmm... put the two together??  

1/2 c oat flour, ground fine
1 c graham flour
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
1 c pumpkin puree
1/2 c coconut oil, melted
2 eggs (vegans sub with flax seed)
1/4 c + 1 TBS honey or agave (or maple syrup)
1/4 c almond milk, warmed
1/4 c ground/chopped pumpkin seeds for the topping

Preheat oven to 350.  Spray two 3 x 5 loaf pan with Pam.
Mix dry then wet.  Pour mixture into pan then press pumpkin seeds onto the top.  Bake approximately 20-25 minutes until toothpick comes out dry.  Cool then wrap in plastic wrap.  
Pumpkin Graham Bread




Pumpkin Graham Bread, muffin
Graham cracker sandwich
Cookies for Christmas


























1/4 c whole wheat flour
2-1/2 c graham flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 TBS coconut oil
1/2 c almond milk, warm
1/4 c honey
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 c brown sugar (raw or honey or agave)
1/4 c water, as needed

Combine wet, then dry in food processor.
Roll out on lightly floured surface about 1/8 inch.
Score for ease of cutting after baking.

Bake 350 6-8 minutes on silicone mat.
Graham crackers with strawberry chia jam

GoFundMe for NYC Marathon

Thursday, December 17, 2015

The Road to New York City

It is that time of year where people start setting goals and plans for the upcoming New Year.  I do not believe in resolutions, have never made them.  Goals are different.  They are tangible things that you work toward with an end.  

For 2016 I have a lofty goal that I need your help with.  I plan on racing in the 2016 TCS NY Marathon!   I'm not sure if anyone from my town has done this.  I'll have to find out.  In any event, please consider helping in any way you can whether by donating money, spreading the word, or donating an item for raffle.   

Read all about my GoFundMe campaign here.    


Share my GoFundMe link:   https://www.gofundme.com/ColleenNYCMarathon

Learn about the TCS NYC Marathon:  http://www.tcsnycmarathon.org


Let's race New York.  

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Gluten-free flatbread

When I was a little girl my mother made this salad called 3-bean salad.  I hated it.  She made it with garbanzo beans and two other beans, red beans and something else I cannot remember.  Ever since, the word garbanzo immediately elicited a YUK face.  Fast forward a whole lot of years and I've been experimenting with all kinds of foods and, surprise surprise, I started making hummus.  I like hummus and have developed several recipes.  A short time ago I came across a recipe for chickpea flatbread.  Hmmm, I thought, I wonder if I could do something with that?  Sure enough, I did something with that.  

It's pretty easy actually. Or it can be difficult.  All depends on how much time you want to put into it and the tools you have available.  

The basic recipe is  1:1 chickpea flour to water plus salt, garlic, and herbs of choice.  I've used parsley and a mix of oregano and basil.  

First, I ground the dried chickpeas.  Took forever in my little Ninja chopper, but worked well.  Recipe called for baking it on parchment paper.  Tried it.  The bread stuck.  Next, I tried it on a silicone mat, preheated with a non-stick spray.  Perfect.  Only problem was my oven wasn't level so I had to prop it up with pot holders.   The next batch, I took the chickpeas that hadn't been completely ground and soaked them in water approximately 1 cup to 1 cup ratio.  Let them soak for about an hour then added garlic, salt, oregano and basil.  This batch was a little thicker and easier to pour onto the silicone mat.  Yum.  

This is a great substitute for regular bread if you are glucose intolerant or allergic.  Haven't tried without the garlic but I'm sure I will be doing some more experimenting.

RECIPE:
1 cup chickpea flour
1 cup water
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
2 TBS parsley or oregano and basil
1/2 tsp salt

bake on Silicone mat 375 15 minutes or until edges turn brown.  (preheat the mat)


Chickpea flatbread

Closeup of chickpea flatbread

Bonus photo.  Runner medalian

Colleen Wait Edits

Colleen Wait Edits

About Me

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This YouTube channel was created to add video to my blog.  Read it here:  www.colleenwaitwrites.blogspot.com.  I write about my life, my books, my family, my cats and kids, and of course travel.