Guru Rabbit

Turn a new leaf (and EAT it)

On the First Try! February 25, 2013

Filed under: Recipes — rabbit @ 7:30 am
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So, I’ve realized that I haven’t provided you all with very many sweets lately.

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My sincere apologies, people.  Really.

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You have to understand that when you bake and make sweets for a living, you tend to want to get away from them at home.

You develop a desire to put salt, vinegar, or hot sauce on everything.

You eat packets of mustard.

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Am I the only one who will eat a packet of mustard?

…I just love mustard…


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Whatever, I hate you all.  So anywho, I got back into a little gluten-free experimental baking.  In the past I’ve had some successes, but also many failures.  It’s one thing when you’re doing strictly vegan or strictly gluten-free, but when you want to do BOTH in one recipe…  Woof.  Without eggs or gluten, you gotta work on your method of structure.  It’s like being an architect or construction worker.  And a chemist.  Well, damn, I didn’t know I was so versatile…

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I got lucky with this one.  I pondered for a bit on how to make a successful gluten-free, vegan banana bread that tastes awesome and is not flat and dopey-looking.  I’m familiar with amaranth and tapioca flours, and find them to work very well in various recipes.  Amaranth for its protein content and sweet, nutty taste, and tapioca for its elasticity and blank flavor (like a ninja…).  Then I researched a bit on baking powder and baking soda, since there would be no eggs to help the bread rise.  I took my usual banana bread recipe, made some adjustments, and voila.  Well kids, I guess this is (one reason) why I”m the Guru Rabbit…

Delicious Vegan, Gluten-Free Banana Bread


2 cups amaranth flour

1 cup tapioca flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp guar gum

1/4 tsp xanthan gum

1 tsp cinnamon

3 ripe bananas

1 cup sugar (brown, white, or a combination of both)

1/4 cup flax seed meal

1/2 cup vegan, gluten-free butter substitute*

1/4 cup non-dairy milk

1 tsp vinegar (white or apple cider variety)

2 tsp vanilla

Optional: a big handful (or two) of chocolate chunks, nuts, dried fruit, candied ginger, dried coconut, whatever you want.  I added chocolate chunks and chopped pecans

*I used non-hydrogenated palm oil shortening, which is stored at room temperature, and is always soft.  If you use something like Earth Balance, which is refrigerated, make sure you let it soften, or melt it slightly.

1) Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Grease an 8×4 inch loaf pan.  (If baked in a 9×5 inch pan, it may bake faster, but will look flatter.  It will still taste awesome though.)  In a small bowl, whisk together the first seven ingredients (all the dry stuff, amaranth flour through cinnamon).  In a medium bowl, combine the bananas, sugar, flax seed meal, and faux butter.  And in a small cup, combine the milk with the vinegar and vanilla.

2) With an electric mixer, beat the banana and sugar mixture until it’s as smooth as possible.  It may look like vomit… Just sayin’…  Add the vinegared milk and mix well.  Then fold in the dry ingredients and your optional additions until well incorporated.

3) Spread into the prepared pan and smooth the top, allowing it a bit of a dome.  Bake for about 1 hour and 20 minutes.  I know, it’s a while, but it’s worth it.  Go watch a movie or something.  Test with a wooden skewer or toothpick to make sure it’s fairly dry inside (there may be a trace of moisture on the tester, but there shouldn’t be any batter).  Allow to cool until at least lukewarm before you cut into it.  This will keep just like regular banana bread– at room temperature, in the fridge, in the freezer– it all depends on how fast it’ll go.

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So here’s to tooting my own horn.

Toot. Tooot!


Pies… November 18, 2012

Filed under: Recipes — rabbit @ 10:29 pm
Tags: , , ,


It’s OKAY.

Stay CALM.

I made PIES.

Pies for you and everyone to enjoy.  You can make these pies tonight while you drink Scotch and worry about your Thanksgiving plans.  And those weird relatives.  Then while the pies are cooling you can drink more Scotch and think about how you’re going to get back at those relatives…

More Scotch.


Eat pecans and chocolate.

Because you’re not Hemingway and need to eat something

Okay, here it is.  1) I don’t really drink Scotch.  But I’m not against it…  2) Coconut Rum Pecan Pie.  3) Chocolate Swirled Pumpkin Pie.  4) OMG GO MAKE THESE NOW.

Seriously, these pies…  One is vegan, one is not, both are scrumptious and will earn you brownie points.  Errr, pie points.  The crusts are really up to you, if you have a favorite recipe or want to use pre-made ones.  These are just my suggestions.

Coconut Rum Pecan Pie


1 1/4 cup flour

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp sugar

8 Tbsp cold butter, cut into small chunks

ice-cold water


1 1/2 cup brown sugar

4 tbsp butter, melted

1/2 cup coconut rum

2 eggs

1/4 tsp salt

optional: a splash of vanilla

1 cup pecan pieces

1/2 cup dried coconut

pecan halves to decorate the top

1) Preheat your oven to 350 °F.  For the crust, mix together the flour, salt and sugar in a food processor.  Then add the butter chunks and pulse until you get a mixture that looks like fine bread crumbs.  Process while adding a bit of cold water until the dough starts to come together.  Turn the dough onto a floured surface and use your hands to bring it together and make sure it’s uniform.  Lightly grease a 9-inch pie plate or pan.  Roll the dough to around 11 inches so that it fits well into the pie pan.  Roll the dough around your rolling pin, and release it onto the pan.  You can do the edges however you like.

2) Make the filling– whisk together the brown sugar, rum, melted butter, eggs, salt, and vanilla, if using.  Spread the pecan pieces and coconut into your pie crust and pour the filling over.  Top with pecan halves however you like.  Bake on a tray 45 minutes to an hour, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Chocolate Swirled Pumpkin Pie


8 oz Oreo-type cookies (I used the Whole Foods brand, I dunno if you’re a Hydrox person or whatevs…)

a couple Tbsp melted butter, Earth Balance, non-hydrogenated shortening, etc.


(I’m not going to lie, this is based on last year’s pumpkin pie… Shut up.)

1/4 cup arrowroot or cornstarch

1/2 cup sugar

3/4 cup non-dairy milk

1/2 tsp salt

1 of 15-oz can pumpkin

1 tsp vanilla

optional (but recommended…): a schtickle of whiskey, rum, dessert wine, etc.

3 oz bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled

1) Preheat oven to 375°F.  For the crust, grind the cookies finely in a food processor.  Transfer to your pie plate.  Mix gradually with the melted butter just until the crumbs can stick to each other, and use your hands to form the crust.  Bake 10-15 minutes, until firm.  Hint: you can smell the chocolatey goodness when it’s about ready.

2) Make the filling.  Whisk together the arrowroot starch, sugar, and milk.  Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.  In a separate bowl, mix about 1/4 to 1/3 of the pumpkin filling with the melted chocolate.

3) Pour the plain pumpkin filling into your pie crust and smooth it out.  (You probably won’t need all the filling, so save it for minis!)  Dollop the chocolate-pumpkin filling on top and swirl around with a knife.  Bake around 40-45 minutes, or until the edges have puffed up a bit and are set.  The center will still be pudding-like.

Allow these pies to cool completely.  Preferably overnight.  In the refrigerator.

(You can even freeze them until T-Day!)

I know, it’s painful.

Go cry about it.  And punch your relatives.


Marshmallows and the Plaid Chicken June 20, 2012

Filed under: Random,Recipes — rabbit @ 9:23 pm
Tags: , ,

I’ve taken upon myself a special project for my mum.  She has about a bazillion photos from the past 60 years or so.  Most of them are of our family, of course.  Slowly but surely, I’m sorting them all out.  Each box I go through gets separated into different categories.  Once each box is empty, the different categories will be divided into subcategories.  In between all that, I have to toss the ones that are blurry or dark, irrelevant, or excessive (my mom has triple prints of some photos.  TRIPLE.).  It’s kind of a fun job, since I’ve always loved looking at the old photos.  Then again, sometimes images, nostalgia, and memory can kind of weigh down on you.


“Und how does zat make you feel?”

But I won’t talk about the contents of my family’s and my nut-case files.

After going through some of my baby and toddler photos, however, I’ve realized a few things about myself:

1) Feet are awesome.

“Dude.  Look at them.  They’re fuzzy.”

2) My love for fruit and all things fruity began at a very young age.

“I freakin’ love this pear, OMG!!?!?!”

3) I was secretly a member of the Beatles.

Look at that hair.  Look at it.

4) Like many children of the 80s, I was a hipster before it was cool.

That sweater rocks so hard.  Bert and Ernie were my inspiration.

And 5) I would kill to have this dress again. KILL.

There’s a freakin’ plaid chicken on that dress, people.

Alas… that dress is long gone.  I hate life.

We’ll have to make do with vegan marshmallows, lemon zest, and olive oil.


And melt it all down.

Add some of that crispy rice cereal stuff.  Or Cheerios, I dunno.  And press into a pan.

And then when it’s cool, cover in chocolate if desired.  Why wouldn’t you?


Every child should make “Rice Krispies” treats.  And with the twist of lemon in here, they taste kinda like Froot Loops.  I swear.

Lemony Rice Krispies Treats

1 10-oz bag marshmallows (vegan is optional… you’re cooler if you use the vegan ones though)

zest and juice of 2 lemons

2 Tbsp olive oil (you can use butter, but I was feeling fancy, and also wanted to keep this vegan)

4-6 cups crispy rice cereal (or some other plainly flavored cereal)

dark chocolate to coat or drizzle (optional)

1) In a large saucepan, combine the marshmallows, lemon zest, juice, and olive oil.  Over low heat, melt the marshmallows while stirring to combine everything.  Remove from heat once melted.

2) Add the cereal.  Start with 4 cups, and if you feel it needs more, keep going.  Stir to coat evenly.  Press the mixture into a 9×13 inch pan lined with parchment paper.  Allow to cool.

If desired, melt the chocolate with a little olive oil or butter and spread or drizzle over the cereal.  Let the chocolate set before cutting (you can put it in the fridge or freezer to speed up the process).

Chocolate and lemon.  Almost better than that chicken dress.


If I Don’t, Who Will? April 23, 2012

Filed under: Recipes — rabbit @ 4:20 pm
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I donated blood last week.  I started doing this regularly last summer when I was unemployed and had nothing better to do, and thought it might improve my karma, at least slightly.  (Whether or not it did is up for debate.)  When December rolled around, my schedule started to get a little whacked out– like, not knowing if I had to work a particular day until the night before kinda whacked out– and I simply neglected the Blood Center calls.  I felt bad because I know my blood type is the second most needed for donation, but it was hard for me to figure out when I could make an appointment and keep it.  Now finally, I have stability and can make such appointments (which reminds me, I haven’t seen a doctor in two years…).

My veins have always been a little hard to get a hold of.  (Take that sentence as you will.)  My left arm is useless, but my right has one particular “magic vein”, as I like to call it.  It’s just large and clear enough to consistently provide an outlet when I gotta give blood, and this is the one nurses have used since I started donating.  Last Tuesday though, the nurse (one I’d never met at the center before) decided to use a different vein.  I didn’t quite see why she chose that one because it was less visible and smaller.  But I have no issue with needles, and figured if she wants to go through the trouble of sticking me over and over, be my guest.  Well, she got it in.  After some wiggling.  Kinda painful, but whatever.  Then my arm started to give out.  I’m pretty sure if it could talk, it would’ve said, “I see the light…”.  I asked for the blood pressure cuff to be loosened, and my arm came back to me.  After that, the experience was fairly usual, except for a little pain, both during and after.

Almost a week later, I still have this.

From now on, only the magic vein.

Now, the question is, what kind of story do I make up when I tell people my boyfriend did this to me? >:}

I figure better me than someone else.  Like I said, I have no issue with needles, so this won’t stop me from donating.  And I already have a few oven burn scars on my arms, as well as one from a window sill (Chris…).  So really, a temporary bruise is just adding to the collection.  These are the tattoos of life.  It’s all about sacrifice.

Other things I don’t mind taking a chance with?  Cookies.


Fresh Rosemary.

Shut.  Up.

Chocolate chunk cookies with rosemary, so what?  You know, I was going  to make this, but I didn’t have enough olive oil.  So I said, Okay, something smaller.  And faster.  And you know, I make chocolate chip cookies at work constantly, but I so rarely make them for me.  And sometimes, you gotta have some cookie dough.

I know the rosemary sounds odd, but let’s face it– dark chocolate goes with almost anything, and if we can pair it with mint, why not try other herbs?  Rosemary has an earthy sweetness to it, and adds a bit of sophistication.  And since I had enough olive oil for this recipe, I used that instead of Earth Balance or palm oil shortening.  And whole wheat flour.  So this cookie has a rustic look and taste– a rich brown color, the herbal aroma of olive oil and rosemary, and the comfort of bittersweet chocolate.

This is good if you don’t feel like something too sweet, but still need something Cookie Monster would approve of.  And I dare say, you could have this cookie with a glass of wine.  You’d be so Euro.

Rosemary Chocolate Chunk Cookies


1/2 cup sugar (brown or white will do)*

1 Tbsp almond or flax meal

4 Tbsp non-dairy milk

4 Tbsp olive oil

1/2 tsp sea salt, plus a little extra to sprinkle on top before baking, if you’re into that

1/2 tsp vanilla

a few sprigs of fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped (about 1-2 Tbsp, depending on how much rosemary flavor you want)

1 cup plus 2 Tbsp whole wheat flour (you can use all-purpose or whole wheat pastry flour as well)

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 cup bittersweet chocolate chunks (it’s best to get a block of some good quality stuff, with a cocoa content of 60-70%, and chop it yourself.  Having a mix of the flecks and chunks makes for a better cookie, in my opinion.)

*Accidentally, this quantity of sugar was less than I was supposed to use, but I didn’t notice at all.  You can increase the amount by up to 1/4 cup if your sweet tooth is more voracious.

1) Preheat oven to 375°F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  In a medium bowl, combine the sugar through rosemary, and whisk until all is thoroughly incorporated.

2) With a wooden spoon, start mixing in the flour and baking soda.  Before it all gets combined, throw in the chocolate chunks, and continue mixing until everything is evenly incorporated.

3) Scoop or spoon out the dough onto your baking sheet, leaving a couple inches of space in between, and slightly flatten the cookies.  I used a heaping tablespoon of dough per cookie, but you can make them whatever size you’d like.  You’ll just have to adjust the baking time.  I baked mine for 8 minutes, so depending on the size of your cookies and how fast your oven bakes, use that as a guideline.

This is a pretty small batch.  How many cookies you get out of it will depend on a) the size you form them, and, more importantly, b) how much cookie dough you tend to eat.  I got thirteen.  I really liked the dough.


Chili of the Gods February 5, 2012

Filed under: Interestin' Food Info,Recipes — rabbit @ 2:59 pm
Tags: , , , , ,


Hey, guys…

I have to tell you about this chili.


I mean, it just looks like a bunch of funky stuff.  Which it is.  But it’s an awesome bunch of funky stuff… tomatoes, onion, and garlic, naturally.  Cumin, cayenne powder, AND chili paste.  Yesss.  Black lentils and red quinoa, for heartiness and protein, but also because they are the perfect color for chili (thanks again, Tiiinnnaaa).  Cinnamon, cocoa powder, and peanut butter… wait!  Don’t make faces at me!  I know those last three are more like dessert ingredients, but trust me…

This chili is largely inspired by ancient Mesoamerican culture (damn you, inner Mexican).  If you are familiar with mole sauce in Mexican cuisine and how it’s made, the array of spices in this chili should not surprise you.  There are many versions of mole sauces, but the most accessible types are general mash-ups of chili peppers, sweet and savory spices, herbs, nuts, seeds, and unsweetened chocolate or cocoa.  The chocolate/cocoa adds a unique depth to mole, as well as this chili.  In fact, you may find that many chili afficionados support the addition of chocolate or cocoa.  Then there’s the quinoa, the “mother of all grains”, according to the Incas.  Although most associated with Peru in origin, various types of quinoa have been grown throughout South and North America, and is therefore, totally appropriate combined with Mexican flavors.  And I’m not gonna lie, black lentils just sounded cool to use in combination with red quinoa.



Vegan Aztec Chili


(Long list, yes, but easy to make.  You can use other veggies if you’d like– bell peppers, sweet potato, greens, summer squash, etc.  But definitely keep the onion, garlic and tomatoes.  Quinoa and lentils of any color will do, also.)

2 medium carrots, chopped into small pieces
1 1/2 cups finely chopped mushrooms
1 medium onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 medium tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1 cup black lentils
1 cup red quinoa
2 tsp cumin
1 1/2 tsp coriander
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
3 Tbsp cocoa
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp thyme
2-3 Tbsp peanut butter (almond or cashew butter would probably work nicely as well)
2-3 Tbsp chili paste
2-4 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
2-4 Tbsp soy sauce
2-3 tsp vegan worcesteshire sauce

Seriously, this is the most laborious part.  If you have a food processor though…

1) In a large soup pot, combine the carrots, mushrooms, onion, garlic and tomatoes.  Bring to medium-high heat, and cook until reduced.

2) Add the quinoa, lentils, and EVERYTHING ELSE.  Oh, and six cups of water.  Simmer over medium-low heat for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  This should be enough time for the lentils and quinoa to cook thoroughly.

3) Add salt and pepper to taste, and adjust seasonings if need be.  If it’s not rich enough for you, add some olive oil or extra peanut butter (but be careful, you don’t want too much peanut flavor).  If you like it more saucy, add some plain tomato juice (or dark beer… that would be good… but let the alcohol cook out).  For ultimate awesomeness, let it sit for at least 15 minutes so the flavors can party together.  You can serve this with some avocado, corn chips, tortillas, pico de gallo, or if you’re not doing the vegan thing, some sour cream or farmer’s cheese.

Why, yes, you CAN eat chili from a mug!

But don’t eat the dried chili pepper…  You’ll die.


On the Eight Day of Yum: Fueling Your Inner Snoopy December 19, 2011

Filed under: Recipes — rabbit @ 10:36 am
Tags: ,

Today’s treat has much in common with Snoopy.

It’s of an easy-going nature.

It appeals to everyone.  Except jerks.

There’s no fuss to it (i.e., it’s a lazy day kinda thing)

It has a long shelf life.  Though not as long as Snoopy…

If you’re in the mood, you can add a little Red Baron to it.

It kinda makes you wanna dance.

Half-Assed Brownie Truffles

Basically, I had a gallon-sized bag in the freezer, stuffed to the Ziploc with some plain brownies.  Typical of me.  And I’m of the waste-not-want-not attitude.  You could also call it the I-don’t-want-to-make-yet-ANOTHER-dessert-from-scratch attitude.

So I let them thaw.  Then I squished them.  I squished them good.

Then I poured in a miniature bottle of Frangelico– aka, hazelnut liqueur.  Of course, my brownies are dense and fudgey enough on their own, and do not require extra moisture to make them wont to being rolled into rich little orbs.  But I gotta doctor them somehow, right?

Should you find yourself with a tray of brownies and need something to do (or if you’re into that whole cake pop craze), other fantastical mix-ins for these simple treats would include, but not be limited to: extra melted chocolate (dark, milk or white); Nutella; almond, hazelnut or peanut butter; fruit preserves or jam; orange, lemon, or lime zest; apple or pumpkin butter; a few dashes of chili powder and/or cinnamon; a shot (or two or three) of espresso; a bit of strong brewed hibiscus, rooibos, or black tea (Earl Grey, Assam, chai, vanilla, etc.); and of course, various spirits– Kahlua, Irish cream, amaretto, chocolate liqueur, brandy, bourbon, rum…

What doesn’t go with chocolate?

After you’ve rolled the “truffles”, dip them in cocoa powder, confectioner’s sugar, ground nuts, sprinkles, or melted chocolate.  If you dip them in chocolate, place them on wax paper until they cool.

Bring them to a party, enjoy while watching A Charlie Brown Christmas, or just eat and dance.


On the Fifth Day of Yum: Classic Stuff, Redone. And a Hula Hoop. December 16, 2011

Filed under: Recipes — rabbit @ 5:16 pm
Tags: ,

There’s a magical moment I always experience this time of year.  It’s definitely within the top five elements of Christmas that I await from the moment October starts.  And yet so far it hasn’t occurred this year!  WTF.  So I have to make up for it on here…

It’s that moment I’m listening to the oldies station, preferably alone in my car so I can sing along, and I hear this particular song:

…You don’t understand how happy it makes me…

And then there’s the cookies.  I always await that, but then again, why do I need a calendar-excuse to bake?

Today it’s a homemade version of Oreos.  Hells yeah.  But we can’t call them that because of copyright laws or some bullshit like that.  Whatevs.

Totally-Not-Oreos, Lolz…


2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (you can use regular, or the “Dutch-processed”)

3/4 cup all-purpose flour (because we’re going for a fine-textured cookie, I wouldn’t use whole wheat)

1/8 tsp salt

1/4 cup faux butter, or non-hydrogenated shortening

1 cup sugar (brown or white is fine, either way, you know these cookies will be dark)

1 Tbsp flaxseed meal

3 Tbsp non-dairy milk

1/2 tsp vanilla

1) In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa and salt, and set aside.  I’m not big on Dutch processed cocoa, nor do I have it on hand, so I used regular cocoa.  Dutch-processed will give a more Oreo-like flavor, but regular will have a more “real” chocolate taste, because the natural acidity has not been subdued.  So there.

2) In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until fluffy.  Like kittens and clouds.

3) Beat in the flaxseed, milk, and vanilla.  It will look like this…

Any time you want a cookie to be crunchy or chewy, flaxseed meal (mixed with a bit of liquid) is a great egg substitute.  It will not only lend the satisfying texture, but surely, you’ve heard that it’s good for you… Take that, Nabisco.

4) Now add half the flour mixture to the sugar goop and mix until the flour is absorbed.  Add the rest and mix on low speed until everything is incorporated.  The dough will be crumbly, but that’s okay, because you’re going to take a rubber or silicone spatula, bring it all together, and then use your hands to gently knead the dough into a ball.


5) Wrap it up and chill for at least fifteen minutes.  If you leave it overnight, let the dough soften at room temperature before you start rolling it out.

6) Roll the dough between two pieces of wax paper.  Always roll from the center outwards, and flip the dough occasionally, to make sure it is even all around.  It should be rolled to about 1/8 of an inch thick.  Now you can cut it.

I used the cap from a jar of allspice.  I don’t understand why anyone would need a round-shaped cookie cutter…

You can gather up the scraps and re-roll to cut out more cookies.

7) Bake them at 350°F, on parchment paper, for 18-20 minutes.  It’s hard to tell when they’re done, but you’ll know if when lightly touched with your finger, no indent is left, it’s time.  Check after 18 minutes.  You reeeeaaallly don’t want to overbake them.

For the filling, you will need:

1/2 cup non-hydrogenated shortening

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1-2 tsp flavoring of your choice: vanilla, peppermint, almond, etc.

With an electric mixer, beat together the ingredients until smooth.  Add a little milk if it’s too thick, or extra powdered sugar if you make it too thin.

I was gonna use peppermint for mine, and then I remembered I have this little guy from last year, and I’d be a fool not to use it.

Can you see the book I adapted this recipe from?  It’s called Got Milk? The Cookie Book, by Peggy Cullen.  Very good stuff.  The first section focuses entirely on different forms of chocolate chip cookies.  Me gustaaaa…

When your filling is done, put it in a large Ziploc bag, and cut a bit off one of the corners.  Boom, temporary pastry bag.  Now you can neatly dollop the filling onto your cookies like a pro.

I’m normally pretty judicious about how many cookies I eat when I bake.  But then I was like, Who am I kidding?.

“Chriiisstmas, Chriiisstmas tiiime is heeeeree….”
Edit: After baking these guys a couple more times, I’ve found it’s best to roll the dough thicker, closer to a quarter of an inch.  Also, I tried a shorter baking time– about fifteen minutes.  And they look better: