Friday, December 31, 2010

Final Blow Out for 2010 - Vegan Cinnamon Rolls

This is icing on the cake for all of the excesses of 2010. For those vegan doubters, believe me when I say that vegan baked goods are totally awesome. Especially homemade cinnamon rolls. This is a modified version of the cinnamon roll recipe from Vegan Brunch by Isa Chandra Moskowitz (a cookbook worthy of your home library). I simply cannot bake without using whole wheat and specialty grain flours. I substituted some of the white flour with white whole wheat and spelt flour. Mmmmmm!

Ingredients for Dough
2-1/4 tsp dry yeast
1 tsp sugar
1/2 cup warm water
1-3/4 cup unbleached white flour
3/4 cup spelt flour
3/4 cup white whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons vital wheat gluten
3/4 cup non-dairy milk, room temperature
1/3 cup canola oil
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

Ingredients for Filling
1/4 brown sugar
1/4 white sugar
1 TB cinnamon
2 TB flour
Mix together in small bowl and set aside.
2-4 TB Earth Balance vegan margarine, room temperature

Ingredients for Icing
1 cup powdered sugar
2-4 TB non-dairy milk
1 tsp vanilla
Mix all together in small bowl after the rolls have baked.

Combine yeast, water, and teaspoon of sugar in small bowl. Give it a swirl and let sit until it gets foamy - 2-3 minutes.

When yeast is ready, put in bowl of stand mixer with paddle attachment. Add all of the dough ingredients and mix until combined. If too sticky, add about 1/4 cup of white flour until it forms a ball and comes away from the side of bowl.

Take off paddle and use hook to knead dough until it's pliable and smooth, about 5 minutes. (If you prefer, you can mix in a large bowl and knead by hand.) Put in oiled bowl, turn to coat and cover with plastic wrap or towel until doubled in size - about an hour.

Punch dough down and let sit for about 10 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Make filling. Roll dough out into 12x18 rectangle. Either spread the dough with the Earth Balance or just dot the dough with small pieces of margarine. I like to spread the margarine and then sprinkle the filling over it. I usually have filling left over because I prefer a less sweet roll. Roll up rightly from long end. Cut in half, and then half again, and then into thirds to have 12 equal pieces. Place cut side down in a 10-inch pan, cover and let rise for an hour. Bake 18-22 minutes until lightly brown. Let cool a bit and drizzle topping ingredients over it.

knead dough until it's pliable and smooth

put in oiled bowl

Roll dough out into 12x18 rectangle

roll up rightly from long end

place cut side down in a 10-inch pan

Bake 18-22 minutes until lightly brown.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Three Apple Crisp

I love the simplicity of apple crisp. I've been making a lot of them and they are dependent upon what kind of apple you use. If you get great apples all the time, wonderful. But sometimes the apples around here are a little questionable. I decided to combine three apples to heighten my chances for a great apple crisp. And I decided to hell with measuring ingredients. With apple crisp, does it really matter? I don't think so. My apple crisp turned out great! I used one of each: Granny Smith, Golden Delicious and Empire apples. If you use more than 3 apples, increase all of the other ingredients.

3 baking apples, take your pick,* peeled and chopped
heaping tablespoon or so of flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1-2 TB sugar, to taste
1 TB lemon juice, approx.
1 TB apple juice, approx.

1-2 TB brown sugar, to taste
2 TB or so of melted Earth Balance margarine
heaping TB of flour
1-2 TB One Minute oatmeal
more cinnamon to taste

Lightly spray cooking pan with oil. Toss apples with flour, cinnamon, sugar, and juices. Melt margarine and mix with rest of topping ingredients. Put apple mixture into pan and sprinkle topping over it. Bake at 350 or so for 30-45 minutes until bubbly, lightly browned on top, and apples are tender.

*It's worth your time to be familiar with the apples you can get in your area and to research online which ones are best for baking.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Healthier Gingerbread Cookie Cutouts

Undecorated gingerbread cookies

These gingerbread cookies have the goodness of flax seed and whole wheat flour and NO eggs or dairy. I guarantee you no one will know the difference.

2 TB ground flax seed
1/4 cup water
1-1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1-1/2 cups unbleached white flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 cup vegan margarine, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup molasses

Mix water and flax seed in small bowl and set aside. Mix all of the dry ingredients together in a bowl. In mixing bowl (get out your stand mixer!) mix together margarine and sugar until light and fluffy. Add flax seed and molasses and mix. Add flour and mix everything together. Add a tablespoon or so of water if too thick. Separate into 2 to 3 balls, wrap and put in fridge to chill for at least an hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degree. Roll out dough and cut into desired shapes. Bake 10 minutes or so, depending on how thick your cutouts are and how soft you'd like your cookies to be. Cool on wire rack. Decorate if desired.

This makes a lot of cookies, about 3 dozen.

Slow Cooker Black Bean Soup with Kale & Rice

More "stuff" from the CSA box to use up. I'm embarrassed to say I've had a bunch of kale sitting in my fridge for several weeks now... waiting, just waiting to be cooked. The most interesting use of kale I found was from my cookbook Vegan on the Cheap by Robin Robertson. This is adapted from that recipe with quantities greatly reduced. I almost cooked it on the stove and I'm glad I didn't because the flavors really came together after cooking for about 6 hours in the crockpot.

1 Tb olive oil
1/2 small onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup short grain brown rice
1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
3 cups chopped kale, stems removed and chopped too
3 cups vegetable stock (I used "unchicken stock" and it was great)

Heat the crockpot to high and add oil, onion, carrots, and cloves. Stir around for about 10 minutes. Add rest of ingredients, lower heat, and cook until rice and kale are done, about 6 hours. Garnish with vegan parmesan cheese.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Thumbprint Cookies

Be warned. These are very adult, and very tasty. Fat bombs. But once a year ain't gonna kill ya. Just be sure to share.

1/3 cup walnut or canola oil
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup cashew butter (or almond or hazelnut butter)
1/3 cup nondairy milk
1 tsp vanilla
1-1/2 cup unbleached white flour
2 TB cornstarch or arrowroot powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup or so of hazelnuts, finely chopped
organic raspberry jam

In large mixing bowl, vigorously mix by hand the oil, sugar, and nut butter. Add in nondairy milk and vanilla. Mix. Add sifted flour, cornstarch, salt and baking powder and mix until a stiff dough forms.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Put chopped nuts in small bowl and have a small bowl of water close by.

I like to use a tablespoon scoop to scoop out about a tablespoon of dough. Compress into ball, dip into water and roll in the nuts. Flatten onto cookie sheet, make a hole with your finger or thumb and fill the hole with raspberry jam. Bake for 15-18 minutes until just lightly browned. Let sit for a minute before moving each cookie to a wire rack.

Potato Kugel

I cut my vegetarian teeth on Recipes for a Small Planet by Ellen Buchman Ewald many, many years ago - back in the day when everyone was concerned about getting complete proteins at every meal. Well, that's no longer true but still there are a few recipes from that book that I treasure. One of them is for potato kugel. The original recipe called for eggs, milk powder and cheese and/or yogurt. Here is my veganized version.

3 average potatoes, peeled and grated
3 medium carrots, grated with the carrots
1/2 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 TB olive oil
1/3 cup silken tofu
2 TB arrowroot powder
1 tsp salt
2 TB fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1 cup grated vegan cheese
plain vegan soy yogurt

Heat overn to 350 degrees. Grate potatoes and carrots into salad spinner. Rinse and spin to dry. Set aside.

Heat oil in small pan and saute onions and garlic until limp. Set aside.

Combine tofu and arrowroot in small bowl, stirring to mix well. Set aside.

Into large bowl add potatoes and carrots. Add sauted onions and garlic. Add salt, tofu mixture, parsley and bread crumbs. Mix well.

Place into oiled pan (I like to use a 9 x 14 glass pan) and press down firmly along top. Bake for about 40 minutes until starting to brown. Add cheese and bake until melted. Serve with soy yogurt if desired.

Betty Crocker's Sugar Cookies - Veganized!

Time to start baking those holiday cookies! It's a family tradition to bake sugar cookies and frost them. This recipe is from the Betty Crocker 40th Anniversary Cookbook and it's been veganized.

1-1/2 tsp egg replacer
2 TB water
1-1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks
1 tsp vanilla
1-1/2 cups unbleached white flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cream of tartar

Combine the water and egg replacer, stir well and let for a minute to gel up a bit.

Mix powdered sugar, margarine, vanilla, and egg replacer in bowl and mix. I like to use a large stand mixer for this. When well combined add the flour, baking soda and cream of tartar and mix. If it's not "together" just use your hands to press into two balls; wrap in wax paper and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Take out one package of dough and roll out on lightly floured surface and cut into desired shapes. Try not to roll too thin. The fatter they are, the softer. Place on cookie sheet and bake 7 to 8 minutes until just starting to brown. Let sit for a minute before placing on wire rack to cool. Frost and decorate when cool.

Carrot & Celery Root Soup

In my last CSA box there were two small celery roots. This was a new vegetable for me to try out so I scoured the internet to find the easiest and most appealing recipe to try it out on. I found a recipe for Carrot & Celery Root Soup at and pretty much followed the recipe except for halving it.

1 tablespoon of olive oil
1/2 onion, peeled and chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, finely minced
2-3 carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 small celery roots
4 cups of vegetable broth
1 teaspoons dill seed (I used dill weed)
sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Prep all of your vegetables except the celery root (it will turn brown once cut). Then in a large pot, heat your olive oil over med-high heat until hot, add the carrots, celery and onions. Lightly salt (it will draw out the moisture). Saute for about 5 minutes, stirring, then add the garlic. Saute for about one more minute, then add the broth.

While the broth is heating up, peel and cube your celery root. Add it to the broth with the dill seed. Bring to a simmer and cook until all of the vegetables are very soft (about 20-30 minutes, depending on how small you cut your vegetables).

When finished cooking, use a hand blender to puree (or puree in small batches in a blender), and salt to taste. To serve, you can drizzle a a little bit of olive oil over each bowl.

For the original full size recipe and the cook's commentary:

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Breakfast Scramble Wrap

Sometimes you need to keep "fast food" on hand. If at all possible, I'd rather make it myself. In the past I've had Amy's Breakfast Scramble Wrap "made with organic tofu, vegetables and cheese." The list of ingredients included Smart Bacon which is something I normally don't cook with but in this case I did. It added a nice low-key smokiness. Amy's Wrap was super easy to veganize and I made extras to freeze. I was quite pleased with the results. Makes four wraps depending on how much filling you use and how large your tortilla is.

14 oz. tub of firm tofu, drained, pressed and crumbled
1 Tb olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 scallion, chopped
1 cup raw spinach, chopped
1/4 tsp chili flakes
1/4 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
3/4 tsp turmeric
mix up spices and set aside
1 roma tomato, seeded and chopped
3 slices Smart Bacon, minced
1-2 TB nutritional yeast (depends on how much you love or hate nooch)
1 cup grated cheeze – optional (your favorite vegan style)
4 whole wheat tortillas (I used sprouted grain, mmmmmmm)

Heat olive oil and saute garlic and onion. Cook until garlic starts to brown and add spinach. Cook until spinach begins to wilt. Add spices and cook for a minute. Add tomatoes and Smart Bacon and cook for about a minute. Add tofu and nutritional yeast. Cook for 1-2 minutes until hot and take off heat. Add cheese and stir to mix.

Put 1/2 cup of mixture into lower center of heated tortilla and fold once, fold in sides and roll up.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Pumpkin Cheezecake with Cranberry Drizzle

Oh my. This was nirvana. I've attempted to make vegan pies in the past but now I'm older, wiser, and things have changed. The recipe was delivered to my email from Vegan Planet, one of my many vegan subscriptions. The recipe is also in 1,000 Vegan Recipes cookbook, which I own but let me tell you, one picture is worth 1,000 words. I saw the photo and had to make it. Besides it seemed fairly simple to make. The ONLY thing I'll do different next time is to make twice the amount of Cranberry Drizzle so there's plenty to go around.

So for the recipe, Robin Robertson's remarks and additional photos of this totally WONDERFUL dessert go to

One other little detail - DO let the pie refrigerate for four hours before you eat it. It really makes a difference in the texture and the taste. Enjoy!!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Shepherd's Pie

I wanted to make something new and different for Thanksgiving. I also didn't want to spend all day in the kitchen. And I wanted to avoid cooking with tofu, seitan, or anything that might be construed as a meat replacer. The November-December 2010 issue of VegNews has a veganized version of Shepherd's Pie that looked perfect. Lots of "Thanksgiving Day" ingredients: potatoes, peas, carrots, gravy, and mushrooms. The Shepherd's Pie did take a bit of time to make but was much quicker than making a bunch of side dishes.

And oh, was it good! Very savory and delicious. This is an adaptation of the VegNews recipe and please note, it only serves 2-3 people. I cut the original recipe in half. Today, I'm kind of sorry I did that because there are no leftovers!

1-3/4 cups potatoes, peeled, diced, cooked
2 TB Earth Balance margarine
1/2 tsp salt
2 TB rice milk
1 TB olive oil
1/4 cup chopped onions
2-4 TB of white wine
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
1/4 cup diced carrots
2 TB diced celery
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 TB spelt flour
1/4 tsp dried marjoram
1/4 tsp celery seed
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup vegetable broth
1 cup cooked lentils (be sure not to overcook!)
2 TB fresh parsley, minced
1 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp tamari
1/4 cup frozen peas

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil loaf pan. In large bowl combine cooked potatoes, margarine, salt and milk. Mash and set aside.

In medium size saute pan, heat oil and add onions. Saute for several minutes over medium heat. Add wine and cook until onions are translucent. Add mushrooms, carrots, celery and garlic and cook until mushrooms get limp. Add flour and cook for a minute. Add spices and cook for another minute scraping bottom of pan so nothing burns. Add broth and stir till thickened. Add more broth if too thick. Add rest of ingredients: lentils, parsley, Worcestershire, tamari and peas. Stir well and place in loaf pan. Pile potatoes on top, distribute evenly and rake a fork across the top. Sprinkle paprika and fresh pepper over top and bake for about 40 minutes until bubbly and top is lightly browned.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Creamy Asparagus Over Toast

Luscious vegetables taking over the frig - what to do, what to do? I had a bag of mushrooms and a container of fresh asparagus that needed cooking. I found a recipe well suited in "The 30 Minute Vegan" by Mark Reinfeld and Jennifer Murray. All the recipes I've made from their book I've enjoyed. I would love to take one of their cooking courses; some are for 3 days, some for a week, all of the recipes look absolutely delicious. In the meantime, I have a couple of their cookbooks. I loved chipped beef on toast when I was a child, I think mainly because of the cream on the toast - I loved the way the toast got soggy. It never was about the meat. This is a pretty tasty dish and I had some sourdough bread in the freezer that I toasted. Very delicious. Perhaps next time, I'll puree fewer veggies so it'll be chunkier.

2 TB olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1 fresh garlic clove, minced
8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
1/2 tsp celery seeds
1-1/2 lb. asparagus, cut into 1-2 inch pieces
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup spelt flour
2 cups rice milk
toasted bread
parsley for garnish

Saute the onion in the oil for several minutes. Add the garlic, mushrooms and spices and saute until the onins are translucent, stirring frequently. Add the asparagus and water, cover and cook for about 4 minutes. Take off lid and cook off any extra liquid. Add flour and cook for a couple of minutes until browned.

Add rice milk to blender or food processor. Add cooked vegetables, reserving some for garnish or to add a bit of chunkiness to sauce. Blend till smooth. Add back to saucepan with reserved veggies and heat. Toast bread and top with saucy vegetables.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Apple Quinoa Spelt Muffins

What delicious little gems these are. They are not very sweet which I really like since it seems I'm usually cutting the sugar quantity in recipes. The original recipe is from I was attracted to them because I love to use quinoa in my cooking and especially my baking. The spelt flour was an added attraction. Spelt flour is easy to find if you look for it in the Bob's Red Mill flour and cereal section - usually in the health food section of your grocery store. You can also get a 4 pound package of organic prewashed quinoa at Costco for $9.99. If you want additional commentary (worthwhile!) or the original recipe go to:

But here's my version...

3 tablespoons ground flax seeds
6 tablespoons filtered water
2 cups of spelt flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup of walnut oil
1/2 cup 100% maple syrup
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup of cooked quinoa, cooled with no clumps
1 apple, peeled and grated

In a small bowl, mix the flax seed and water, blend briskly and set aside. In medium bowl add the flour and rest of dry ingredients; mix. The flax should be gelatinous by now. Add the oil, syrup, applesauce and vanilla to it and mix together. Add to the dry ingredients and mix until it just comes together and there are no clumps of dry flour. Fold in the quinoa and apple. Spoon in to muffin tins lined with paper cups. I like to use a oiled ice cream scoop. Bake at 375 degrees for 22-25 minutes until toothpick comes cleans and muffins are lightly browned on top. Makes 14 muffins.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Many Seed Soda Bread

This is a variation of the soda bread recipe on the 101cookbooks site. I veganized the recipe since the original called for buttermilk. The next time I make this I'm going to half the recipe and just make a mini loaf since it's a quick bread and really doesn't keep well. I found the bread much more flavorful after I let it cool down - although we all know the tendency to immediately chow down on a freshly baked loaf of bread!

2 1/2 tablespoons each of your favorite seeds:
sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds,
poppy seeds, flax seeds, etc.
I like to coarsely chop the larger seeds.
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1-3/4 cup soymilk
1 cup white whole wheat flour
3/4 cup spelt flour
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

Preheat your oven to 400F. Mix milk and vinegar together and set aside. In a small bowl combine all the seeds and reserve 2 tablespoons.

Sift the flours, baking soda, and salt into a large mixing bowl. Stir in all but 2 tablespoons of the seeds. Make a well in the flour, pour in the soymilk, and stir until the dough just comes together. Place on floured work surface and knead lightly for about a minute, just long enough to make a loose ball.

Place the dough on a lightly floured baking sheet and slash it with a deep cross across the top, cutting two-thirds of the way through the loaf with a serrated knife. Brush with buttermilk and sprinkle with the remaining seeds, making sure plenty of seeds make it down into the cracks.

Bake for 35 - 40 minutes, or until the bread is golden crusted. Cool on a wire rack.

Makes a single loaf.

Garbanzo and Cabbage Soup

Tis root vegetable season and that means cabbage and warming soups! The beauty of this recipe is you most likely have everything on hand and it is quick and easy to make. And yes, it's even better reheated the next day. I found this recipe on the VegNews website. The only revision I made t0 the recipe was to add 2 teaspoons of Vogue Veggie Base powder broth. This is a pretty tasty soup. Here's the link:

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Betty Crocker Apple Crisp - Veganized!

Who doesn't love Apple Crisp? This is a very quick and easy recipe. I've cut the quantities down so it serves 2. If you want to make the full-blown recipe, just google "Betty Crocker Apple Crisp." Some good apples to bake with are Fuji, Granny Smith, Jonagold, Rome Beauty, Golden Delicious and Honeycrisp.

1 medium tart cooking apple, peeled, cored and sliced
2 TB packed brown sugar
2 TB whole wheat pastry flour
2 TB quick-cooking or old-fashioned oats
2-1/2 TB Earth Balance Vegan butter stick
1/4 scant teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 scant teaspoon ground nutmeg

Heat oven to 375ºF. Grease bottom and sides of small baking dish.

Spread apples in baking dish. In small bowl, stir remaining ingredients until well mixed; sprinkle over apples. Bake about 30 minutes or until topping is golden brown and apples are tender when pierced with a fork.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Albers® Corn Bread - Veganized!

This is the recipe off the box with substitutions made so it's vegan. I made muffins out of the batter. Excellent served with my Spicy Chili with Pintos and Veggies (see previous post).
  • 1 cup Albers® White or Yellow Corn Meal OR any other cornmeal (I used Bob's Red Mill organic medium grain cornmeal)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup oat milk or other non-dairy milk
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 Ener-G egg replacer

PREHEAT oven to 400°F. Grease 8-inch square baking pan or prepare muffin tin.

COMBINE meal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in medium bowl. Mix 1-1/2 tsp Ener-G egg replacer with 2 TB water, mix well and set aside. Combine milk and oil in small bowl; mix well. Add milk mixture, and Ener-G egg replacer to flour mixture; stir just until blended. Pour into prepared pan OR spoon into muffin tin.

BAKE for 20 to 25 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Serve warm.

NOTE Recipe may be doubled. Use greased 13x9-inch baking pan; bake as above.

Makes 10-12 muffins

Spicy Vegan Chili with pintos and veggies

This chili has no tofu or TVP. What there IS, is lots of spices and vegetables and a few beans. This is more spicy than “hot.” If you want to dial it down a bit, just use 1/2 of the fresh jalapeno and cut the chili powder quantity in half.

1 TB olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
2-3 carrots, sliced
1 fresh jalapeno, seeded and diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
3 large mushrooms, chopped
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp oregano
1 TB chili powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
1 cup vegetable broth
1/2 cup frozen corn
1 14 oz can of pinto beans
2 TB tomato paste

Heat olive oil in large pot. Add onion and saute a couple minutes, add celery, carrots, minced garlic and saute until onions are getting translucent. Add jalapeno, bell pepper and mushrooms and cook until mushrooms start to extrude moisture. Add spices and stir for a minute or two. Add rest of ingredients and cook until vegetables are just al dente.

Garnish with vegan sour cream, shredded cheese or avocado.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Pear Sauce for Pancakes or whatever!

I like to have pancakes for breakfast a couple times a month. In an effort to avoid processed foods, I usually just top my pancakes with pure maple syrup. Quite frankly, the sugar rush just doesn't agree with me so I thought I'd try something less sweet like a fruit topping. This pear sauce is not too sweet and the consistency is similar to applesauce but not so thick. Maple syrup is used to sweeten the sauce. I was pleased with the results.

2 fresh pears
1 tsp lemon juice
1/4 cup apple juice
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1-2 TB maple syrup, to taste

Peel pear and cut fruit away from stem and core and put in small saucepan with lemon, apple juice, and cinnamon. Mash up and cook for 5 minutes. Add 1 TB of the maple syrup. Take off heat and blend with immersion blender. Taste. If not sweet enough add another tablespoon of maple syrup.

Vegan Cookie Exchange

The local meet up group for vegans had a cookie exchange last week. I brought two different cookies, both from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar: 100 Dairy-Free Recipes for Everyone's Favorite Treats. If you only have one vegan cookie bookbook, this is the one to get. All of the recipes I've made have turned very well.

One of the recipes was for Mexican Chocolate Snickerdoodles. A video with Isa and the recipe is posted on This was the recipe that convinced me to buy the cookbook. The only thing you might think about changing in the recipe is the amount of cayenne. It called for 1/2 teaspoon which may be too much for some people or kids. If you're "hot spicy" adverse, cut it to 1/4 teaspoon. If baked the full 12 minutes, these cookies are crispy. If you prefer a softer cookie, bake the shorter time.

Linzertorte Thumbprint Cookies
My other contribution to the cookie excahnge was Linzertorte Thumbprint Cookies. These were awesome little fat bombs! The ingredients called for hazelnut butter which I've never seen, let alone keep in my cupboard, so I substituted cashew butter. In my quest for perfection, next time I'll make the cookies flatter and the indent deeper so I can put more jam in cookie.

Both of these cookies will be on my Christmas cookie bake list this year.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Cake Pan Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Frosting

What a fun, silly recipe! You mix all the dry ingredients in your cake pan, make several holes for the liquids, mix and bake. Personally, I sifted the dry ingredients into a bowl and mixed together so the cocoa wouldn't be lumpy. But that's just me. I used soy milk for the liquid and canola oil for the oil. The cake was tasty and moist but not a deep rich chocolate bomb. Fun to make! This recipe comes courtesy of the fine folks at King Arthur Flour website:

Next time I make this, I'm going to use whole wheat pastry flour. Also, this cake really needs frosting. I considered just dusting it with powdered sugar but it's a little bland without it. The frosting "makes it." The recipe below for frosting is super quick and super tasty.

1-1/2 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon espresso powder, optional
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon vinegar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup cold water, coffee, soy or almond milk, or 3/4 cup water and 1/4 cup rum

Preheat your oven to 350°F.
Measure all the dry ingredients into an 8" or 9" round or square cake pan; if you use an 8" pan, make sure it's at least 2" deep. Blend the ingredients together thoroughly with a fork or whisk and scoop out three holes, or indentations.

Pour the vanilla into the first hole, the vinegar into the second, and the vegetable oil into the third.

Take the cup of cold liquid (water, coffee, milk, etc.) and pour it directly over everything in the pan. Stir all the ingredients together with your fork until they are well blended.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Yield: 12 to 16 servings.

Chocolate Frosting
1/4 cup soy milk
4 ounces of semi sweet chocolate (chips ok)
2 TB maple syrup

Heat soy milk to boiling; take off heat, add chocolate and maple and stir with spatula until combined.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Warm German Potato Salad

A variation of the recipe on Vegetarian Times website. Lip-smacking tasty potatoes on a bed of spinach. Serves 2. Four Stars.


  • 8 oz. baby red potatoes, cut into 1- x 1/2-inch pieces
  • 4 oz. green beans, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 2-3 green onions, white and pale-green parts chopped (1/4 cup)
  • 2 Tbs. white balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh parsley
  • 4 cups loosely packed baby spinach leaves


1. Cook potatoes in pot of boiling salted water 8 minutes, or until tender. Add green beans during last minute or so of cooking.

2. Meanwhile, heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Add green onions and garlic. Cook 3 to 4 minutes, or until tender but not browned. Remove from heat, and stir in vinegar.

3. Drain potatoes and green beans. Toss with olive oil mixture and parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Serve warm on bed of spinach.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Vegan Blueberry Muffins with Struesel Topping

I found this recipe on the TheDailyGreen website. These are totally awesome – not too heavy, and the cake not too sweet. Of course, I had to fiddle around with the recipe. I used white whole wheat flour, cut the sugar by 1/4 cup and added some vanilla extract. And it was so good! I don't normally bake with Ener-G Egg Replacer but the recipe called for it and so I used it. It was fine. (For some reason I was afraid it would leave a "funny" taste.) I also have to note that with the crumb topping it was a bit too sweet for me. I'll probably leave it off next time and maybe add a couple tablespoons of the sugar back in. The original recipe says 12 servings but I only got 10. Four Stars.

For the original recipe go to TheDailyGreen website:

1- 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 Ener-G Egg Replacer
1/3 cup soy milk
3/4 cup blueberries

Crumb Topping:
1/4 cup sugar
2 TB white whole wheat flour
2 TB vgan margarine
3/4 teaspoons cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Grease 10-12 muffin cups.

Combine flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder.

Make the Ener-G egg.

Pour the vegetable oil into a 1 cup measuring cup, then add the egg and enough soymilk to fill the measuring cup, and then vanilla. Add to dry ingredients and mix well.

Fold in blueberries, then place the batter into the greased muffin tin.

Crumb topping: Mix ingredients until any large lumps are worked out. Sprinkle topping over muffin batter before baking.

Bake about 25 minutes, until the topping and the tops of the muffins are golden.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Rainbow Chard Quiche

I've always loved quiche. This one comes pretty close to the "egg" type but without the eggs. You could substitute the vegetables too. Four stars.


1 pound extra-firm tofu, drained
1 large bunch rainbow chard
1/4 cup chopped onions
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp turmeric
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp red pepper flakes
¼ cup nutritional yeast
¼ cup cornstarch
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a shallow 9" pie dish and set aside.

For the greens: Cut off bottom 1 inch or so of stems and discard. De-vein each leaf and finely dice the stems and veins. Keep separate from rest of leaves. Chop the rest of the leaves. Saute the stems, veins, onions, and garlic until wilted. Add rest of leaves and saute until wilted. Set aside.

Crumble tofu into bowl with your hands. Add spices, nutritional yeast, cornstarch, mustard, and lemon. Mix well and add cooked chard. Mix in chard and transfer to baking dish. Bake 30-40 minutes, until golden and the center is not still mushy. Allow to cool at least 10 minutes before slicing.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Hershey's Chocolate Sauce

A quick, versatile chocolate sauce that's easy to make with ingredients you probably have on hand. This recipe is easily halved. It's my own version of Hershey's Chocolate Syrup.

1 TB plus 1 tsp cornstarch
2 tablespoons non-dairy milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup non-dairy milk
2 tsp vanilla extract

Combine cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of the milk, stir and set aside. Combine dry ingredients in small saucepan; whisk to mix well. Add milk and stir over medium heat until just coming to a boil. Add cornstarch mixture and stir until thickened. Take off heat and add vanilla.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Breakfast Tofu and Vegetable Hash

The best of all worlds to start your morning - tofu, potatoes, and peas! Four Stars.

8 ounces extra-firm tofu, drained
1 tsp tamari or Shoyu
1/2 tsp curry power*
1/4 tsp dried dill weed
2 medium red-skinned potatoes, diced
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup diced green peppers
1/4 cup diced red onion
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 frozen peas
1 small tomato, finely diced
fresh parsley to taste
1 TB nutritional yeast
sea salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper

Crumble the tofu in to small bowl with the first 3 spices. Mix and let sit. Heat olive oil in pan and cook potatoes over medium heat until lightly browned around the edges. Add bell pepper, onions, and garlic and cook until onion is translucent. Add peas and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add tofu and the rest of the ingredients and cook for around 2 minutes.

*If you're not too wild about curry powders, substitute with 1/2 tsp cumin powder, 1/2 tsp thyme, 1/2 tsp tumeric powder, and 1/4 tsp cayenne powder

Sunday, September 12, 2010


This recipe makes about 4 pancakes and it's one of the best vegan pancakes I've had. Do not substitute the flour unless you've made this at least once. Five Stars!

2/3 cup non-dairy milk of your choice
1 TB lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
2/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1-1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 TB walnut oil (or oil of your choice)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Mix milk and lemon together and let sit while you mix all of the other ingredients in another small bowl. Add oil and vanilla to liquid ingredients, mix and add to dry ingredients. Mix well. Heat a skillet and lightly oil it; add 1/3 cup pancake mixture for each pancake. Cook until a few bubbles form on top and bottom is browned; flip and cook other side. Serve hot with maple syrup or whatever turns you on.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Thick Gooey Chocolate Sauce

Here is a recipe for a quick, easy chocolate sauce. It's really good on vanilla rice cream! Next time I make it, I will add 1 tsp. of vanilla. Store in the refrigerator in a microwavable container. It's very thick and you may want to heat it a bit so it will scoop out a bit easier. Three Stars.

(Note: This sauce did not grow on me as I ate it. The consistency is too thick and it makes me feel like I'm eating agave syrup flavored with chocolate. Too much sugar. I've scouted around and found another recipe that's much more to my liking, thinner, not so sweet and pours easily. See post for "Hershey's Chocolate Sauce" Sept. 18, 2010.)

1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup agave syrup
1 Tb walnut oil

Combine ingredients into a small blender (I used the mini chopper attachment that came with my immersion blender) and blend until mixed.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

King Arthur's No-Knead Country Bread

You say "no knead" and I'm there! This recipe has minimal "working" time - most of it's either waiting for it to rise or bake. This recipe is from the King Arthur Flour website and I'm loving it - lots of recipes, inspiration and things to buy if you're so inclined. This bread is really simple especially when you let it rise in the mixing bowl overnight. It has a nice flavor and chewy crust. I especially adore it because it uses whole wheat and flax flour.

I think I probably should have let it rise a bit longer on the second rise - it wasn't as "tall" as I thought it would be. But then I substituted regular yeast instead of instant* and used ground flax seed instead of flax flour. But don't get me wrong - it was still great! I'll be making this again but will follow the recipe to the letter next time. Five stars.


1) Stir together all of the ingredients (or use a stand mixer) to make a sticky dough. Continue to work the dough enough to incorporate all the flour, or beat for several minutes in a stand mixer.

2) Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and let it rest at room temperature overnight, or for at least 8 hours; it'll become bubbly and rise quite a bit, so be sure your bowl is large enough.

3) Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. To make a single loaf, choose a 14" to 15" long lidded stoneware baker; a 9" x 12" oval deep casserole dish with cover; or a 9" to 10" round, 4" deep lidded baking crock. To make 2 loaves, lightly grease (or line with parchment) a large baking sheet.

4) Shape the dough to fit, and place it in the lightly greased pan of your choice, smooth side up. For two loaves, divide dough in half, shape each into an oval loaf, and place on the prepared baking sheet.

5) Cover and let rise at room temperature for about 1 hour, until dough has become puffy and fills the pan about 1/2 full.

6) Slash the loaf in a cross-hatch pattern or 3 diagonal slashes just before placing into the oven.

7) If baking in a lidded crock or pan, place into a cold oven. Set the oven temperature to 450°F.

8) Bake the bread for 45 to 50 minutes, then remove the lid and continue to bake for another 5 to 15 minutes, until the bread is deep brown, and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center registers about 205°F.

9) To bake on a baking sheet, preheat the oven to 400°F, and bake for about 25 to 30 minutes, until bread is deep brown. Remove the bread from the oven, turn it out onto a rack, and cool before slicing.

Yield: 1 large or 2 smaller loaves.

*I read online to substitute regular active yeast for instant yeast, you activate your yeast in warm water and REDUCE the overall liquid called for in the recipe by that amount. So, this recipe called for 1-1/2 cups water and I reduced that amount by 1/4 cup and used 1/4 cup to activate/proof the regular yeast. Just make sure the total amount of liquid in the recipe stays the same – or so they say!