Tag Archives: walnuts

Pesto, hold the Parm…

Pesto.  No cheese.  Just make it.  So good and simple, saying anymore would spoil the beauty.


  • 3-4 C washed, loosely packed stemmed fresh herbs- basil, cilantro, parsley, mint
  • 1 C shelled, roasted walnuts or pine nuts
  • 6-7 cloves fresh garlic
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup good tasting extra virgin olive oil, as needed
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Big pinch of red pepper flakes
Instructions:Combine the fresh herbs, nuts, red pepper flakes and garlic in a food processor and process the mixture until it turns into a coarse meal.Slowly add extra virgin olive oil in a steady drizzle as you pulse the processor on and off. Process until it becomes a smooth, light paste. Add enough olive oil to keep it moist and spreadable.

Season with sea salt, to taste.

Immediately use over fresh pasta or on toast.  I put the leftovers in ice cube trays top with a drizzle of olive oil and cover with plastic wrap.  When they are frozen, pop them out and wrap them securely with plastic wrap by the one cube and then toss all the cubes into a plastic freezer bag and you have summer pesto in the winter months.

Inspired by : glutenfreegoddess.com

Replace Gluten AND Eggs? It’s Worth A Try.

Warning:  I’m not a *real* chef, AND I got a C+ in organic chemistry, B+ in inorganic chemistry.  Proceed with caution.

Excess zucchini means science experiment time!  I have lots of vegan friends and recently a handful of gluten free friends, so I decided to see if I could please both of them with a summertime staple:  zucchini bread.

First, the research for a gluten free bread recipe was pretty easy, but…wait Xanthan Gum?  What is that?  I had an idea of what that did in gluten free baking but no idea where it came from or where even to get such a thing, certainly I wasn’t going out for it.  Thanks to Wikipedia I again know way more about an ingredient than I care to, thus, had to find a replacement which WAS NOT a chemical.  It dawned on me that flax basically can be used as a sub for anything….so why not as a sub for xanthan gum.  Turns out, lots of people think xanthan gum is icky like I do, and use flax as a sub, teaspoon for teaspoon.  Now…in my vegan banana bread recipe, I also subbed flax and water for eggs, decided to try that in this one too.  Science experiment complete.  I crossed my fingers hoping it would taste okay and had SUPER results!

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This bread came to work with me to our staff meeting and noshers said it was super moist, and slightly spicy.  I particularly appreciated the crispy exterior and the chewy interior.  Bonus is that it didn’t need a spread of any kind, it stands on its own two feet.

This recipe makes one loaf.

  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1 ½ cups freshly shredded zucchini
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs (or to Veganize it: 1T flax seed ground with 3 T hot water)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla (check this, some have gluten in them-gross)
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 ½ cups GF Flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill chickpea and fava bean)
  • 1 teaspoon flax sprinkles for each cup of flour
  • up to 13 teaspoons hot water (I know this sounds random, but it depends on the type of gluten free flour you use how much water you will need)

Shred the zucchini, allow it to rest on paper towel to reduce moisture and chop the walnuts in a food processor or by smashing them in a plastic bag and set them aside.

Use a mixer to beat the flax/water mixture and add the sugar, oil and vanilla. Add the baking soda, cinnamon, salt and baking powder. Slowly pour in the flour and flax sprinkles (dry) until well mixed. Now if you have made bread before, you will know that the end consistency is not thick like cookie dough, but rather, thicker than cake batter, so to get from cookie dough to almost cake batter, slowly add hot water 1 teaspoon at a time until you have a workable quick bread viscosity.  For me, that took 13 teaspoons.

Last, by hand, mix in the zucchini and walnuts. Pour in greased & floured loaf pan and bake at 350F degrees for 55-75 minutes. Let cool.

When life gives you over-ripe bananas, find an egg replacement and add a few walnuts to make Vegan Banana Bread

I’ve been a vegetarian for quite some time now, and I have always had strong feelings about going vegan, as in, I’d really love to and then I start thinking…of cheese, eggs and Greek yogurt.

Confession:  I am a dairy whore.  The thought of not eating Habanero Mango Cheese from Horrocks ever again frankly makes me nearly faint.  Like most things, jumping in to a vegan lifestyle with both feet is so scary, so I will make small changes where possible and hopefully will get there someday.

My friends Kolene (@suckahpunch) and Jon (@jon_dunn) however, have basically jumped in head first.  I’m so proud of them.  They began a Twitter group Vegan GR (@vegangr) and a website where they scope out vegan friendly restaurants and vendors around GR and basically run around doing good all day long.  I’m serious.  Case in point, Kolene’s birthday wish is raising money for Carol’s Ferals a non-profit feline organization which performs TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return) services in Western Michigan and Jon works for Best Friends Animal Society  where he is the wizard behind their online presence.  I know, right?  You want to hate them, but you cannot help but love these people!  I don’t even LIKE cats and I gave to Kolene’s birthday wish.  They are compelling people for the case of a vegan lifestyle.  Lots of give in those two.  They inspire me to try, at least sometimes, to foster a vegan diet and so perhaps with their help, I will kick my dairy habit and become a vegan too.

I’ve posted vegan baked goods on this blog in the past (Mexican Hot Chocolate Snickerdoodles) from PPK’s Isa Chandra, but this recipe I took from this little cutie named Claire who runs this blog called Vegan Cooking.  Check her out and while you are at it, bake a vegan dessert like this one I’m giving to Kolene for her birthday.

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Vegan Banana Nut Bread

  • 1 3/4 Cups All Purpose Flour
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 Cup Demerera Sugar (I subbed brown sugar)
  • 1/2 Cup Chopped Pecans or Walnuts
  • Equivalent of 2 Eggs Using Egg Replacer (I used 1T Golden Ground Flax Seed Sprinkles which I picked up at TJ Maxx of all places for about $3, mixed with 3T tap water)
  • 2-3 Ripe Bananas Mashed
  • 1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 tsp Fresh Ground Nutmeg


Preheat oven to 350°F.
Sift together dry ingredients. Stir in nuts, egg replacer, bananas, oil and vanilla. Mix well.
Pour into greased loaf pan and bake for 45-60 mins (until knife comes out clean). Cool for 5 mins before removing from pan. Cool on wire rack.

Milk Chocolate Banana Peanut Pancakes

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Alright, this recipe doesn’t need a fancy narrative, it just needs you to take your sweet self into the kitchen and make it now-yes, you can eat breakfast for dinner.


  • 1 1/2 C all purpose flour
  • 3 1/2 tsp baking POWDER
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 T sugar
  • 1 1/4 C milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 very ripe banana cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 handful milk or semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 handful peanuts or walnuts (unsalted)
  • 3 T melted butter (optional)
  • 1 T vanilla (optional)

whisk together dry ingredients.

make a well for wet ones, gradually add wet to dry ingredients

poor by 1/4 C onto hot (375 degree) griddle

drop sprinkles of banana, chips and nuts into batter

flip just once after tons of bubbles appear

slather with butter, dust with powdered sugar if you are a diva or syrup like Mr Wonderful does and inhale

with leftover batter, for Walter the Wonderdog, I put just bananas and peanuts in the pancake…Bagels like Walter love pancakes too.