My Journey in the Far North

thoughts, inspiration, devotions and recipes from my journey in the far north

Happy 4th of July! July 4, 2011

Cashew Cream Tart with a ‘Raw Crust’ and seasonal berries

We are heading for a HOT day today in Fresno!  And, at the moment I’m hiding indoors until I go to work at my part time job…time and half…yes, please!

This morning I made some things to contribute to the 4th of July/My mom’s Birthday party Party at my aunt’s house this afternoon. 

First, I made a ‘raw’ tart using 2 cups of raw almonds and 20 dates (finely chopped) for the crust and a cashew cream using soaked raw cashews, dates, some water and vanilla, pureed until smooth.  I topped the tart with blueberries and slices of strawberries…red, white and blue!

The cream filling recipe is from here.

And, I also made a couscous and quinoa tabbouleh salad, very similar to the salads I’ve made in the past.  I’ve used this recipe as the base for several of the salads I’ve made before.  What I like to do is add quinoa and mix it up using either bulgur wheat or couscous.  No matter what you use or not use, it’s a great recipe to adapt and can be used as a base to create your own original salad.

My adaptions to the original recipe for today’s salad include:

Doubling the batch

Using 1 cup couscous instead of bulgur (place in a bowl and top with 1 3/4 cups boiling water, cover and let water absorb couscous)

Using 1 cup of quinoa (rinse well, boil with 2 cups of water until all water is absorbed)

Using parsley AND cilantro

Couscous and Quinoa Salad with Cranberries

What are you preparing for 4th of July?  Or, what do you like to bring to parties?


Spring Rainy Day Baking – Apricot Almond Cake (egg & dairy free) April 7, 2011

Filed under: Food,Weekly Post Challenge — tlobner @ 11:30 am
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After such great weather over the past couple of weeks, today we have rain (but the higher you go up the West Coast, you’ll find hail, ice and snow like in Washington state…so, is it really spring??).

Anyways, I get an email daily from and one of their 9 showcased blogs included an apricot almond cake.  Totally got me thinking about apricots (love) and almonds (love love) and everything with almond flavoring (love love love). But, since the recipe included dairy and eggs, I searched for a non-dairy and egg version…you know, a vegan version.

I found one that looked easy enough and included ingredients I had. The only problem the recipe was in metric measurements instead of the imperial measurements we use in the US.  Since I have dealt with metric measurements while living in the UK, all I had to do was convert the recipe.  Ok, not so simple.  The converted measurements were not your even cup measurements…so I had to adjust the recipe a little to make it work approximately with the metric measurements.  I, also, made a baking temperature adjustment as well as baking time adjustment.  The cake is beautiful…golden and almond-y…and it tastes so good.  Perfect for a baking on a spring rainy day.

Apricot Almond Cake

Apricot Almond Cake (egg and dairy free)


1 1/4 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup sugar

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 cup ground almonds (do this in the food processor)

2/3 cup apricots, chopped (food processor works great here too)

1/2 cup soy free Earth Balance

2 T Caro Syrup (I used light, but you can use golden OR if you have Golden Syrup, use it)

1 tsp almond extract (I used a lot because it simply poured out too fast, so add more if you like)

2/3 cup nut milk (I used almond, but soy will work too)


1 T sugar

2 T flaked almonds

Preheat oven to 35oF (18oC)

Using an 8″ round cake pan, grease lightly and line bottom with parchment.  I used a springform pan.

Mix the first 6 ingredients.

Melt (microwave is fine) the ‘butter’ and the caro syrup (or golden syrup).  Add the nut milk and the almond extract.  Mix and add to the dry ingredients.  Stir.

Spoon into the cake pan and top with 2 T flaked almonds and 1 T sugar.

Bake for approximately 25-30 minutes, until golden and tested as being done using a cake tester.

Apricot Almond Cake


Peach and Almond Streusel Muffins March 24, 2011

I’ve been back in the US now for just over 2 months and in between looking for jobs, I’ve been keeping up with my cooking and baking.  Today I noticed that muffins, streusel muffins to be exact, are making their rounds on blogs.  And being inspired by several blogs, I decided to make my own streusel muffins. 

Peach and Almond Streusel Muffins

Before I made the Peach and Almond Streusel Muffins, I made a batch of black bean burgers from a recipe from the Daily Garnish, a blog I frequent.  The patties are currently individually wrapped in the freezer waiting to be baked and used, so I haven’t actually tried them baked.  However, I did taste the patty mixture and it’s pretty good.  If you are looking for a different burger patty recipe, you should check out this recipe. 

Just so you know, I adjusted the recipe for the burger patties a little basically using what I had on hand.  Instead of using canned beans, I started with dry beans, soaked them overnight with a 3″ square of Kombu (found in health food shops or asian markets– it’s supposed to help with the gas issue and aid in digestion).  After soaking them, I rinsed the beans and added more water and placed it on the stove cook (don’t forget to add the Kombu back into the pot).  The beans were brought to a boil and foam was skimmed off, and once the water turned greenish purple, I removed the Kombu and any foam and placed it back on the stove to cook until the bean were cooked through.  Then, I proceeded with the rest of the recipe as noted.  I did not have onion powder so that was not added, and I did not have pepitas so I used walnuts.  Also, I pureed the mixture a little longer because I wanted it more smooth before I added the rest of the beans as stated in the recipe.  After making them into patties (I got 9 not 6, probably due to processing the mixture longer and adding a little more olive oil), I placed them on a baking sheet and put them in the freezer.  After they had been in the freezer a while, I individually wrapped them with plastic wrap.  Once I’m ready to use them I will  follow the recipe to cook them.  I think they’ll taste great.  So give them a try.

After cleaning up the kitchen, I went back in and made the muffins.  They just came out of the oven and I tasted one immediately (probably best to let it cool a little for the flavors to come together) but the first taste was great.  They weren’t too sweet and they are really moist.

So, if you are looking for a healthy, vegan streusel muffin with almonds and peaches to bring you a little hint or reminder of warm summer days to come…try this recipe!

Peach and Almond Streusel Muffins – Vegan

What you’ll need:

1 cup almond milk

1 T apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup canola oil

1/2 tsp almond extract

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup ground flax seed

1 cup white all purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp kosher salt

1/4 cup cane sugar (or raw sugar)

1/3 cup slivered almonds, crushed

1 1/2 cup frozen peaches, cut into bite size chunks

Streusel Topping:

1/4 cup brown sugar

2-3 T earth balance soy free spread

1/4 cup all purpose flour

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/3 cup slivered almonds

How to make it:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  Grease muffin tin and line with muffin cases. Oven temperature will be reduced once the muffins have been in the oven for two minutes.

Combine the almond milk and vinegar and set aside.  Combine all the dry ingredients.  Finish combining the wet ingredients and add to the dry.  Add peaches.

Make the streusel topping in the food processor or in a bowl.  Mix until combined and work-able.  You want it dry-ish so that you can mold it into chunks. (Put some of the topping in your hand and squeeze it to keep it together.  To use break off chucks and crumble over muffin).  If the topping is too soft it will just melt into the muffin as the muffin bakes.  So add flour or brown sugar if you find it too soft.  The recipe I was using for the topping only called for 3 T flour, but I found I needed to add more flour to get it to the consistency I wanted.  So, play around with it to reach the consistency you want.

Fill the muffin tin with the mixture.  The mixture will be thick…this is exactly what you want.  To put the mixture in the muffin cases I used an ice cream scoop. 

Ready for the streusel topping

Top with the streusel topping.

Ready to bake

 Bake for 22-24 minutes–2 minutes at 425 degrees and 20-22 minutes at 375 degrees.  After 20 minutes, use a cake tester to see if you need to continue baking. 

Let cool, remove from the muffin tin to the cooling rack and enjoy!

(Since they have fruit in them, be sure to store in the refrigerator.)