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Grain of Rice is a website dedicated to providing wholesome nourishment for body, mind, and soul. Expect recipes posted on this blog to be vegan-friendly, writing to be clean, and message to be, I hope, always uplifting. Happy reading!

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Almond-Cranberry Scones

Posted by imperiomichelle on August 17, 2014 at 7:55 PM Comments comments (0)


I know it's still summer here in the Northern Hemisphere, and where I am it's still hot, but here I am posting another bake recipe. What is wrong with this picture, you may ask? Well, I guess I just have a good air conditioning system. And besides, I knew these scones would be too good to put off making. 


 

Scones are one of my favorite baked goods. Whenever the cafeteria made scones at my old school, I would almost always eat one. Even if the school had served scones every day for a week. Needless to say, that isn't the healthiest food choice, especially since a typical scone's ingredients have little to offer in terms of nutrition -- refined flour, butter, eggs, and sugar. (I just looked it up.) Yikes.


But these scones are different. They may not be as light and buttery as your typical scone, but they have so much more nutritional value that I'm perfectly happy to eat a couple of these. Paired with some fresh fruit and a glass of milk (chocolate almond milk, anyone? Or even some cherry-orange limonata??), these scones would make a delicious and nutritious breakfast. Besides, I quite like how hearty and nutty these scones are. 




When I take a bite out of these scones, I know I'm eating real food, not empty calories. The base of these scones is chock-full of nutrition, from whole grains in the form of oats and whole-wheat flour to healthy monounsaturated fats and calcium from the almonds. Take that, butter-and-white-flour scones! 



These scones have got tons of almond-y goodness from almond butter and almond meal, and the tartness and juiciness of the cranberries balance out the heavy richness of the almond butter quite nicely. 


Did I mention that these scones can be made in one bowl? That's right, fewer dishes to wash! :)



In keeping with this simplicity theme, I form the dough into a ball in the mixing bowl and turn it out directly onto the baking sheet. Well, actually, onto a piece of flour-sprinkled parchment paper on the baking sheet. Makes washing the baking sheet much easier. 


Then I press the ball into a flat circle about an inch high and cut into wedges. I made mine into mini scones by cutting the disk into six wedges, then cutting each of those wedges in half again. 




Then pop them into the oven, and a few minutes later you've got delicious almond buttery, tart cranberry goodness! 



I thought at first that they weren't done the first time I made these. They were firm and crusty to the touch on the outside, but when I tried to take apart the wedges, the outer crust separated from the softer interior. However, they held together just fine once they cooled for a few minutes. 


Just looking at all these pictures is making my mouth water for these scones that are just bursting with almond buttery flavor. It's still hot here, but I think I'll have to make these scones again soon! 



Almond-Cranberry Scones

Serves: 12

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 16 min

Oven temp: 375 F


Ingredients:

  • 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats, coarsely ground (or sub quick oats)
  • 1/2 cup almond meal (or coarsely ground raw almonds)
  • 1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar (can reduce to 2 tablespoons; almond, not sweetness, is the star of the flavor show in these scones)
  • 2 tbsp ground flaxseed (measured after grinding in coffee grinder; about 1 1/4 tbsp whole seeds)
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup almond butter (mine was salted)
  • 1/2 cup non-dairy milk (I used vanilla soy)

 

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. Add in almond butter. Add milk a little at a time. You want it doughy -- not too wet. (It will be sticky.)
  4. Gather dough into a ball and turn out onto a flat, lightly floured surface. I put it directly onto the parchment paper on my baking sheet. With wet hands, flatten into a disc about 1" high. Cut into wedges.
  5. Bake at 375 for 14-18 min. I took mine out at 16 min. It will be crusty and may seem undone inside, so let it cool for a few minutes before cutting and serving. I tried to take them off immediately and the outer crust separated from the inside. But they will set as they cool. These are best served soon after baking, but they can be reheated in a toaster oven or regular oven and enjoyed for several days afterwards. Serve with nondairy milk or another beverage such as cherry-orange limonata. Or for a more decadent treat, serve à la mode with a scoop of ice cream (leave out the mint and chocolate chips and flavor with half a teaspoon of vanilla extract instead).

 

Nutrition info:

Per 1 of 12 mini scones:

Calories: 130

Fat: 6.5 g

Saturated fat: 0.5 g

Sodium: 25 mg

Carbohydrate: 15 g

Fiber: 2.5 g

Sugars: 4 g

Protein: 4.5 g

Roasted Vegetables with Pesto

Posted by imperiomichelle on July 15, 2014 at 3:55 PM Comments comments (0)


You know those times when you're hungry, but not quite hungry enough to make and eat a big meal? You want something with a little more effort and payoff than a peanut butter sandwich, but that still requires just a few ingredients and minimal preparation. Well, it was one of those times. I wanted something more nutritious and satisfying than filling my stomach with random snack foods, yet something still easy to make from whatever was in the fridge. And with a whole bag of broccoli florets at the ready, I knew this dish would do just the trick. 


This post isn't so much a recipe as it is an idea. I had broccoli and carrots in the refrigerator, so I used those and threw in a can of chickpeas for good measure. But this is a simple idea that can easily be adjusted to work with whatever vegetables you happen to have on hand. 



I started with broccoli and carrots. 



And then to add some protein and make it a meal, I added a can of chickpeas.



I put everything in a bowl, tossed it with some basil and olive oil pesto, and then roasted it in the oven. Twenty minutes later, delicious roasted vegetables full of flavor and nutrition! 



It was so good, we ate it all up straight off the pan. 



I love how simple this dish is to make, especially if you have some pesto already made. I used some store-bought pesto, but you could certainly make your own with some fresh basil, olive oil, garlic, pine nuts, and salt (this is just a basic basil pesto -- I know, there are lots of different kinds of pesto out there!). But if you already have the pesto, this dish really isn't that much more effort to make than a packaged snack, yet the benefits in terms of both deliciousness and nutritiousness are tremendous. 


I'm definitely going to use this recipe/idea again next time I need a colorful and veggieful meal. It's a great light supper that takes only 30 minutes from start to finish. Yum! 




Roasted Vegetables with Pesto

Serves: 3

Prep time: 10 min*

Cook time: 20 min


Ingredients:

  • ~3 cups broccoli florets, cut into bite-sized pieces if too large
  • 3 medium carrots, cut into sticks (I peeled mine)
  • 1 (15 oz) can chickpeas/garbanzos, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tablespoons pesto

 


Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Throw everything in a large bowl and mix to coat the vegetables with the pesto. 
  3. Spread in single layer on a baking sheet and roast in oven for 20 minutes. Serve immediately.  


*Time estimate for recipe made with pre-made pesto.


Nutrition info: 

Per 1/3 recipe:

Calories: 225

Fat: 6.5g

Sat fat: 1g

Sodium: 140mg

Carbohydrate: 33g

Fiber: 10g

Sugar: 8.5g

Protein: 10.5g


Mint chocolate chip ice cream

Posted by imperiomichelle on July 3, 2014 at 3:55 PM Comments comments (0)


I said in my last post that nothing says summer more than lemonade. . . well, maybe that's not quite true. There is, after all, ICE CREAM.

 


 

 

Cold, creamy, sweet, and overall delicious, who can say no to a bowl of the stuff? And especially if it's mint chocolate chip and easily made vegan with the use of vegan liquid sweetener and dairy-free chocolate chips?

 

Mint chocolate chip has always been one of my favorite flavors. I mean, the cool taste of mint is scrumptious enough by itself, but add in smooth, melty cashew-and-rice-based ice cream and trusty ol' mini chocolate chips and it suddenly rises to a whole new level of sophistication. The ice cream base is part cashew and part cooked brown rice, giving it the richness of the cashews while keeping it on the lighter side with the rice. For a thick, full-bodied ice cream, all cashews can be used, and full-fat coconut milk can be used in place of the almond milk to make it over-the-top rich. For me, though, this ice cream hit the spot.


Mmm. . . mint, chocolate, cashews, and rice. How can you go wrong?




I sweetened it with half dates and half honey, though you can replace the honey with another sweetener such as agave or maple syrup for vegan. Using all dates gives too strong a flavor to the ice cream, I've found.



As for the mint flavor, I used both fresh mint and peppermint extract. Mint just tastes so refreshing, and it pairs perfectly with this ice cream. (I had some extra cashews, so I made some chocolate, vanilla, and peanut butter-flavored ice cream as well, but I still liked the mint the best!)



I was hoping the addition of mint sprigs blended into the ice cream mix would turn it a pretty pastel green, but it barely made a difference in the color. Next time I might add in some spinach to boost the color and nutrients. 

After blending it all together for a good two minutes or so (it may take longer, depending on the speed and quality of the blender; I used a Vita-Mix), I got this. 



At this point, you could throw it into an ice cream maker and churn it there, but as I don't have an ice cream maker, I went the freeze-and-blend route. I poured the mix into a shallow, freezer-safe container and let it harden overnight. (I know, I know, who wants to wait? But patience has its reward!)



Once frozen, cut out some chunks, blend them gently. . .



And, presto-chango, ice cream! 


 


You may be tempted (as I was) to eat the frozen ice cream straight out of the freezer, without blending. It's delicious that way too -- after chipping away at it bit by bit until I'd eaten more of it straight-frozen than blended, I should know -- but it doesn't have the extra ice cream oomph that blending gives it. I know, more things to do before eating this stuff, but just think about it: would you rather have melted and re-frozen ice cream, solid as a popsicle, or fluffy, fresh-from-the-carton ice cream?

 

For those of you who said the former, go ahead and eat the frozen blocks to your hearts content. But as for me, let me go the extra mile to blend it. Yum!

 

 




I got a little hungry during the photoshoot.



Now go! Make some ice cream now!


Mint-Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Recipe adapted from the 7 Secrets Cookbook


Serves: 8


Ingredients:

Heaping 1/2 cup cashews, soaked overnight (or for at least a few hours) and drained

1/2 cup cooked brown rice

1/2 cup dates (I used 5 Medjool dates)

1/3 cup honey (or sub agave or maple syrup for vegan)

2 cups unsweetened almond milk 

Scant 1/4 tsp salt

1/4 cup fresh mint

1/4 - 1/2 tsp peppermint extract

Ice cubes

Mini chocolate chips


Instructions:

 

  1. Place all ingredients except peppermint extract, ice cubes, and chocolate in blender and blend until smooth. I blended for about 2 minutes. 
  2. Starting with a scant 1/4 tsp, add peppermint a little at a time until desired mintyness is reached. 
  3. Add ice cubes (this cools the mixture; alternatively, more milk or water can be used) to total a volume of 5 cups*. Blend just until smooth.
  4. If you have an ice cream maker, churn in ice cream maker, adding chocolate chips near the end of the churning. If not, pour into a shallow, freezer-safe container and freeze overnight or until solid. When ready to eat, cut out blocks and place in blender with chocolate chips. Blend into a soft serve-like consistency. Enjoy! 


*If your blender isn't strong enough to blend blocks of the frozen ice cream without liquid, leave out this step and add the liquid when blending.

*The ice and water in this recipe may add a slight icy texture to the ice cream; if a creamier texture is desired, less ice can be used and/or more fat added in the form of cashews or a higher-fat milk such as coconut. 


Nutrition facts:

Per 1/8 the recipe, using 1/2 cup chocolate chips:

Calories: 240

Fat: 9g

Sat fat: 3g

Sodium: 120mg

Carbohydrate: 39g

Fiber: 2.5g

Sugar: 25g

Protein: 3.5g


Cherry-Orange Limonata

Posted by imperiomichelle on June 25, 2014 at 9:10 PM Comments comments (0)



There's nothing that says "summer" more than lemonade. So I knew I had to make some before summer's end. 

Or maybe it's just that a pile of lemons was sitting in the kitchen, just begging to be used. 



And drinking a limonata at Olive Garden last night more than likely played a part in the creation of this summery, lemony, gorgeously ruby-red beverage. 


It's got orange juice, lemon juice and zest, a generous heaping of cherries, and just the right balance of tart and sweet. 


This is not your ordinary lemonade. 



Start with your simple sugar syrup. 


Then the star of the show, the lemons. 






Now for the orange juice. 


And finally, the cherries! 


Toss a handful into a food processor and whiz until you get something like this: 


Throw it all together and you go from this . . . 


To this . . . 


And then to this. 


Add your sugar syrup to taste. 


Oh-so-beautiful. Oh-so-delicious. 


Cherry-Orange Limonata 


Serves: 8

 

Ingredients:

 

  • 4 large lemons (makes a scant 1 cup juice including pulp) -- use organic if you can, since you will be using the zest
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 1 large orange (makes a scant 1 cup juice including pulp)
  • Heaping 1 cup fresh cherries
  • 1/2-3/4 cup sugar (I used brown sugar), to taste
  • Water

  

Instructions:

 

  1. Prepare your sugar syrup. In a small saucepan, heat 1 cup water with sugar, stirring to keep sugar from burning.
  2. Squeeze your lemons, keeping the pulp*. Zest one lemon and add it to the juice.
  3. Squeeze your orange, keeping the pulp*.
  4. Pit your cherries. Pulse in food processor until small pieces remain*.
  5. Combine juices and cherry bits. Dilute with 4 or 5 cups of water (the glass container in my photos holds a little over half a gallon), adding sugar syrup to taste. I used between 1/2 and 3/4 a cup of sugar.
  6. Chill in refrigerator. Flavor will develop as it sits. Stir before serving.
  7. Enjoy!


*I like how the cherry bits and the pulp from the orange and lemons give this juice some more substance than a typical clear beverage. However, feel free to strain out the pulp or blend it if that's what you prefer. 


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