311. Black Cake Brownie Bites [GF, Vegan, Oil Free]

Black Cake Brownie Bites| GF, Vegan, Oil Free | Ann Ning Learning How

I am Asian. I am not Jamaican. But I have a taste for the ultra-dark and rich fruit cake that comes from Jamaica since we grew up eating the version made by one of the F daughters. SO good. I just refer to it as “black cake.” That, along with Mommy’s Fried Rice, is one of the foods of my youth. Ai Ai told me that our friend S starts preparing hers months before Christmas.

So when I set out to make these brownie bites I was aiming for a gingerbread taste. They came out more reminiscent of the black cake I love. I was not disappointed – it was a happy accident! My apologies to real Jamaican fruit-cake makers – I know the real thing is irreplaceable – I’m just pleased I came up with an easy alternative for myself. If you’ve never had the kind of cake I’m talking about, be informed that the taste is strong (although alcohol-free in this case). To achieve a lighter taste, try ¼ cup maple syrup and ¼ molasses. Or a scant ½ cup maple syrup and a splash of molasses. I haven’t tried this yet, but once I finish the rest of my brownie bites I will. Oooh – or use all maple syrup and add a splash of mint extract for mint brownies. I bet you saw that one comin’.

Black Cake Brownie Bites [Gluten Free, Vegan]

Yield: 24 mini muffin-size brownies

Preheat oven to 350

Line mini muffin trays with paper liners

    • 3 Tb ground flax
    • 1 c unsweetened cocoa powder
    • ½ c molasses
    • ½ c unsweetened applesauce
    • 1/2 c GFDF mini choc chips
    • splash of vanilla
    • dash each of cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg
    • 2 dashes of ginger powder

Mix everything well. Fill your mini muffin cups and bake at 350 for 20 minutes. After they cool, frost only those you’ll be consuming with a white glaze (e.g. powdered sugar + non-dairy creamer), sprinkle with your favorite toppings. Mine aren’t necessarily GF/Vegan, e.g. crushed candy canes, M&M’s (I love the dark chocolate mint, green ombre variety), but if you need a safer choice, try colored sanding sugar.

302. Vacation Rice

Vacation Rice| Oil Free | Ann Ning Learning How


We were blessed to stay in an apartment-style place with a full kitchen in Aruba.  Happily, a large supermarket opened recently down the street, so my sisters and Mommy were in charge of buying groceries for the week.  Since we did not stay at an all-inclusive resort we had to go find food.  We had nice meals at local places, and nice meals “on-campus.”  The whole thing was a mobility-challenge for me, though, especially if we were eating after the sun had set.  Plus I’m still into vegetarianism even though the Vegan Experiment is technically over so I never knew what would be “okay” for me to order.  Everyone was really accommodating, though, and would bring me a vegetarian entrée even if it wasn’t on the menu.  Sometimes it was a huge plate of steamed veggies, sometimes it was a more complex offering.  I’m fine with simple, though, which is why I was equally happy to stay home and cook a  batch of “Vacation Rice” for the next couple of days.  The measurements here are all very sketchy.  I didn’t measure anything – I just worked with whatever I had.  Let me recommend buying pre-made fresh salsa for vacation cooking.  You know, like pico de gaillo, or whatever is in the store.  There were onions and garlic, red peppers, hot peppers, tomatoes, and herbs in my salsa so I didn’t have to buy or chop anything else – a major bonus for me.

Vacation Rice

  • 1.5 c leftover cooked brown rice
  • 1 pack of frozen vegetables
  • 1 small box mushrooms
  • 1 small package of fresh salsa
  • veggie or chicken broth
  • 2 eggs
  • soy sauce to taste

11161797225_0cf62d17abFirst you’ll need to go on vacation.  Before you go, do a Google search to see if there’s a grocery store nearby.  Plan ahead if you have dietary requirements.  Not everyone is going to want to cook on vacay, but I wanted to do so since it ensured a food supply to my liking. All the food labels were in Dutch, but mushrooms look like mushrooms wherever you are, so it all worked out.

Pour a bit of broth into the bottom of a large pan and bring it to a state of rowdiness.  Add in the salsa and cleaned mushrooms.  I didn’t even bother trying to slice them or asking Mommy to slice them for me ❤ since  I wanted a bigger “chew.”  So put them all in the pan, stir to combine, cover and cook over medium-ish heat for 15 minutes.

Add in a bit more broth then the frozen veggies.  Cook over medium heat again for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

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While the veggies are cooking, scramble the eggs.  To do this without oil, keep the heat super-low and keep stirring.  I learned this method from JPAS, the king of pancakes.  I braced myself against the counter and took this exciting left-handed cooking action shot!

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Put the eggs aside.  Add a little broth to the egg-y pan.  When rowdy, add in your rice, the eggs, and a few scoops of veggies.  Stir-fry and add soy sauce to taste. You will have leftover veggies to enjoy for further meals.  If you don’t want leftovers try using only half a pack.  Otherwise, this amount of rice was 2 servings for me.  Enjoy!

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