Sunday, December 25, 2011

Apple Muffin Tops

These muffin tops are chock full of goodness – whole wheat flour, chopped apples, and non-saturated fats. I really like to use honeycrisp apples but any of your favoring baking apples will do. And don't even bother peeling the apples. The fiber is good for you and doesn't detract from the tastiness. This recipe is adapted from my regular apple muffin recipe. I've added a bit more soy milk so the batter is not as firm. I'm also on a maple syrup and palm sugar kick so I've used those for sweeteners instead of brown and granulated sugars. Makes 12 muffins tops. 

1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup soy milk
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 TB baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 cup coconut palm sugar (or brown sugar)
1-1/2 cups apple, peeled, chopped into pea sized pieces with 1/2 cup set aside. (About 1 to 1-1/2 apples depending on size.)

1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Mix together in small bowl.

Heat oven to 375 degrees. I have a non-stick 6-muffin top pan. I like to lightly wipe each hole with a paper towel that has been sprayed with Pam. Mix all wet ingredients in small bowl and set aside. Mix dry ingredients in large bowl and whisk together. Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just mixed. Don't over mix. Fold in 1 cup of the apples.

I like to use an ice cream scoop (sprayed with Pam) to scoop the batter into muffin tins. Spread to the edges. Add the reserved chopped apple to top the muffins. Sprinkle about 1 teaspoon sugar topping (more or less depending on your sweet tooth) over each muffin. Bake 15-18 until lightly browned and inserted toothpick comes out clean. Place muffin tops on wire rack to cool.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Pumpkin Latté – Cheap, Easy and Tasty

This drink is slurp-a-icious! Something else you could make with all that leftover pumpkin. I'm really not into lattes but after I drank one, I made another batch the next day. These are very good. You don't need an espresso maker, just a blender and small saucepan. I used my VitaMix and it was ever so frothy. This recipe comes from I made it just a tad sweeter.

Makes one rather large serving or you could share.

½ cup strongly brewed coffee
(If you have an espresso machine, substitue the coffee for 2 shots espresso)
1 ½ half cups almond or soymilk
2 tbsp unsweetened canned organic pumpkin puree
2-3 tsp pure maple syrup
1/2 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp ground ginger
pinch of nutmeg
1/2 tsp vanilla

Step One:
Brew coffee. While coffee is brewing, continue on to step two.
Step Two:
Place non-dairy milk, pumpkin puree, maple syrup, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and vanilla in small pot on stove. Warm on low heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring.
Step Three:
Place pumpkin milk mixture in blender. Blend at high speed for 30-45 seconds, or until frothy.
Step Four:
Pour frothy pumpkin milk mixture into large container. Add coffee. Stir and parcel out into one or two mugs. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Fresh Cranberry Pumpkin Bread

This is a quick bread and it is totally awesome! Not too sweet and nice and moist. I was going through my cupboards the other day and realized I had accumulated four cans of pumpkin. Pumpkin bread came to mind. So I've been scouring the internet looking for a healthy version of pumpkin bread. So many of them have a cup or more of sugar, loads of oil, and use all white flour. I found this recipe on whatwouldcathyeat and it uses more whole wheat than white, and just 3 tablespoons of oil. Interestingly, it called for 6 tablespoons of orange juice. I had a couple organic valencia oranges in my refrigerator so I juiced one and got exactly 6 tablespoons of juice. While Cathy's original recipe is a whole lot healthier than the majority, I made some minor modifications to suit my taste.

Here is the link to Cathy's original recipe.

And here are the modifications I made:

1/2 cup brown sugar substituted with 1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar substituted with 1/3 cup coconut palm sugar
3/4 cup walnuts substituted with 1/4 cup walnuts

I just wanted to use less sugar. I can't bring myself to use a whole cup of sugar in ANYTHING. I reduced the amount of nuts just because I'm not wild about nuts in my bread. Whichever recipe you follow I know you're going to love this bread. I'm thinking that the next time I make it, I might drizzle it with just a bit of sweet stuff (1 cup powdered sugar mixed with 1-2 TB orange juice).

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

What's Cooking?

 Spicy peanut-hoisin noodles with tofu and broccoli 
from Quick-Fix Vegan by Robin Robertson.
I don't know why she calls it that, it's really a super delicious 
pad thai without a boat load of sugar.

Apple Galette.

 A fun Pullman bread pan with lid that makes square bread.

 Here is the "square" bread. Unfortunately, it was "too white" for my palate. 
I won't be making this oat bread again. But I love the pan.
 It ain't pretty but damn – it was good! The ubiquitous Shepherd's Pie
I think this is becoming a Thanksgiving tradition.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Single Serving Brownie – Again

This is a riff on the Single Serving Brownie from the Happy Herbivore website. I really love a recipe that is scaled down to small serving especially a brownie. That way you can't eat the whole pan! This is supposed to be ONE brownie but I have these little silicone baking cups that make cute mini brownies. The original recipe is quite good but it has an awful lot of sugar in it (agave, brown sugar, apple sauce) and I was aware of the whole wheat flour while I ate it. So I've changed up the sugars and switched the whole wheat pastry flour to a mix of garbanzo bean and oat flour. My next batch I'm going to try spelt and oat flour. If you use garbanzo flour don't eat the batter, it's a little bitter.

1 TB oat flour
1 TB garbanzo flour
2 tsp light brown sugar
1 TB cocoa
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 TB chocolate chips
1 TB maple syrup
1 TB applesauce
2 TB non-dairy milk
1/8 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stir the first 5 dry ingredients in a small bowl with a fork until well mixed. Add the chocolate chips and the rest of the ingredients. Stir until well mixed. Pour into 3 small silicone baking cups or a single muffin pan. Bake 20-25 minutes until done.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Spicy Pinto Bean and Quinoa Chili

I got a hankering for a pot of chili the other night. It really doesn't take all that long to throw together. You could add more veggies of your choice. I found myself wishing I had some zucchini. Next time! I was going to add some Ortega peppers but it would have made it too hot. A word of caution: add half the chili powder, taste and adjust. You want your spiciness "just so."

Spicy Pinto Bean & Quinoa Chili
1 TB olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1-2 carrots, chopped
3-4 minced garlic cloves
1/2 bell pepper, chopped, your choice of color
1 TB chili powder*
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp dried oregano flakes
1/2 tsp salt (optional)
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
1 oz can tomato sauce
1 cup vegetable broth
1 15 oz. can of pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup frozen corn
1 cup cooked quinoa**

Saute onions and carrots in a bit of oil until onion is limp and translucent. Add garlic and bell pepper and saute for several minutes. Add spices and cook for a minute. Add some broth to de-glaze the pan. I actually used a bit of wine. Add rest of ingredients and cook for about 10-15 minutes until good and hot.

*I really like Summit Spice Susitna Blend chili powder. If you use it, be warned, it's on the hot side.

**I make quinoa in my rice cooker, cool it and divvy it out into 1/2 cup increments to freeze.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Cashew Almond "Cheese"

What unbelievable texture for a non-dairy cheese!
I'm always looking for that perfect plant-based "cheese." Any time that I get nostalgic for dairy cheese all I have to do is remind myself of a dairy cow's miserable existence and I'm over it – just like that!

This recipe is a keeper but you do have to plan ahead when you make it. Look at the texture! And there are no additives to make it thick (meaning no expensive agar flakes). It could use a bit of seasoning; I just haven't decided what would be best. With its creamy texture it would be good for something like enchiladas or stuffed shells. It spreads well on crackers and would make a beautiful presentation at a vegan "cheese" and wine party.

1 cup raw cashews
1 acidophilus capsule
1/2 cup filtered water
1/2 cup blanched slivered almonds (soaked overnight)
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
olive oil

Finely grind the cashews and add 1/2 cup water and the contents of acidophilus capsule and puree until very smooth. Transfer to small bowl, cover and let it ferment for 24 hours.

After 24 hours, drain the almonds that have been soaking and puree until smooth. Add the fermented cashew mixture, lemon juice, and salt and process until mixed. Scrape into a small oiled oven-safe ramekin. Drizzle top with a bit of olive oil and bake at 300 degrees for 30 minutes or until lightly toasted and dry on top. Refrigerate tightly covered for up to one week.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

SoyQuick Milk Maker

 Soymilk is my drink of choice and I like to eat tofu. It was a natural progression of events that I would eventually buy a non-dairy milk making appliance. I've been wanting to make tofu and have hesitated because of the time investment. The first step to make tofu is to make soymilk which takes a fair amount of time. Then it's on to the tofu: add the coagulater until it's the correct firmness, pour into mold, press and chill. When I discovered this SoyQuick I was excited to learn that you just pour in the water, add the soaked soybeans, and turn it on! It's pretty slick and makes the milk in less than 30 minutes. The soymilk does have to be strained which really isn't a big deal.

My first batch of soymilk was very successful and I was surprised at how much tastier it was than the brand I've been buying off the shelf. It was a little richer than I'm used to but that is easily adjusted.

This weekend I tackled the tofu. I wasn't totally sure of how much coagulant to use so I just faked it. It did curd up but I need to work on that step. I was quite shocked at how much better tasting home made tofu is. Some of the store bought tofu has a "funny" taste that I don't care for and can't quite "spice" it away.

Here is my very first batch of tofu broken into chunks. The curd is a bit loose and it's wetter than I'd like but the taste was far superior than store bought.

So now I have this beautiful home made tofu so I made a Tofu Skillet Scramble from the new cookbook Quick-Fix Vegan by Robin Robertson. I have a lot of cookbooks by this author and I'm liking her recipes better all the time. I had gotten sick of eating tofu scramble; they're all pretty much the same. Her recipe for tofu scramble reminded me of a vegetarian egg dish we used to make called "Slop." Yeah, I hated the name but it was soooo good! Fried potatoes with ortega chili peppers and eggs scrambled in one pan with cheese melted on the top. Robin's Tofu Skillet Scramble starts with fried potatoes and scallions, roasted bell pepper and sun-dried tomatoes and lots of intriguing spices. It was delicious!

Here is the Tofu Skillet Scramble.
Next time the tofu will be a bit chunkier and the potatoes diced smaller.
Mmmmmm! I didn't miss the cheese either.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Cheesy Quinoa-Garbanzo Veggie Cups

Oh these were tasty delights. Garbanzo beans and quinoa are two of my favorite foods. When I saw this recipe at The Peaceful Kitchen I had to try it. In addition to the beans and quinoa there is also grated zucchini, finely chopped scallions and red bell pepper and a wide assortment of spices and flavors. It is baked in muffin tins so you end up with a bunch of adorable "loaves." I found myself wishing I had one of those "muffin top" pans to bake them in – it would make some awesome veggie burgers. The recipe also has a link for the "cheesy sauce" which was actually quite tasty. A final note – the baking directions were for 20 minutes which I thought were not long enough. I baked them for 30 minutes and next time might bake them for even 5 minutes longer.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Darn – I didn't take a photo of these cookies. Let me describe them for you. They will maintain their shape as they bake because there's not a whole lot of fat. They will not get fat, fluffy and cake-like because there's not a lot of liquid. They are lightly golden from the oat flour. The crumb is a bit tender and they are just the right amount of "sweet."

What they are NOT is loaded with saturated fats and refined sugar. This recipe is very different as it uses canola oil, maple syrup and barley malt. My "testers" really enjoyed these cookies so I'm posting the recipe.

1 cup rolled oats
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup oat flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
2 TB plus 1 tsp canola oil
1 TB barley malt (or molasses)
1 TB (yes, tablespoon) vanilla extract
1 TB soymilk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 to 1/2 cup semi sweet vegan chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a couple of cookie sheets with parchment paper. Mix dry ingredients together in bowl. In small bowl, mix together wet ingredients and whisk until well combined. Add to dry ingredients and mix. Add chips. Scoop onto cookie sheets with tablespoon scooper. Flatten each cookie a bit. Remember, they will not spread like high fat cookies. Bake for 7 to 8 minutes until bottoms are just getting brown. Let sit for a couple minutes and carefully transfer to wire rack to cool.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins

Remnants of a muffin I remembered to photograph before I completely scarfed it down!
I've recently come off a bad experience making a batch of low fat veggie muffins (here is the recipe if you want to try your hand at it). I don't want to dis anyone else's recipe and it could have totally been my fault but they turned out terrible. Not quite done, zucchini kinda stringy, too sweet – overall a poor substitution for the usually wonderful muffins I regularly make and consume. I've been in the mood for pumpkin so I made these totally lip-smacking Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins. They were just a touch sweet and had a wonderful cake-like interior. If you prefer something sweeter, you could add a couple more tablespoons of sugar or even sprinkle the top with sugar before you bake them.

Clabbered Soymilk
Mix together and set aside while you get the rest of the ingredients together.
2/3 cup soymilk
2 tsp apple cider vinegar

Dry Ingredients
Sift into large bowl
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup unbleached white flour
2 TB date sugar (or brown sugar)
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ginger

Wet Ingredients
Mix together in small bowl
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp apple cider vinegar

Final Ingredient
1/2 cup dried cranberries, chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare muffin pan (line or oil). Add clabbered milk into wet ingredients and combine. Pour wet ingredients into dry and mix until barely combined. Fold in cranberries.

Scoop into muffin tin with ice cream scooper. Bake for 15 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Homemade Tahini

I used up the rest of my tahini last week and didn't put it on my grocery list because I had another jar in the cupboard. Or so I thought. As I was gathering up the ingredients to make my weekly batch of hummus on Sunday, I discovered that I did NOT have any tahini in the cupboard. No worries, I have a Vitamix and have always wanted to use it to make tahini. I went to the Vitamix Recipe Book and it listed 5 cups of sesame seeds to make tahini. When I went to the freezer to get out the sesame seeds, I discovered I had about 3 tablespoons sesame seeds. Okay, I'll just use my "personal blender" since it's such a small quantity of seeds. The blender has a really small container for grinding seeds and it worked perfectly. I was so happy and as I tasted the tahini butter I realized the seeds had gone rancid! Oh well. I ended up using a tablespoon of cashew butter that I had in the refrigerator instead of the tahini. And I'm going shopping tonight!

Homemade Tahini
raw sesame seeds
salt, to taste

Place in size appropriate container and blend until it turns to butter. Add a bit of salt, blend, taste and adjust if necessary. Refrigerate.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Cinnamon Buns with Vanilla Maple Icing

These are so much better than store bought cinnamon buns. There's even whole wheat flour in them and just a bit of sugar in the dough. Most of the time spent making them is just waiting for them to rise – really! I mixed the dough in my KitchenAid mixer and only did a little hand-kneading because I want to get my hands in the action. After the dough was kneaded and tucked away in a covered bowl I went out on errands and when I got back home it was ready to roll out, butter and sprinkle with goodies. Next I rolled it up, cut into pieces, and let rise again for about 45 minutes. Then I baked it and viola! Homemade cinnamon buns. Smelled wonderful too. Makes 12-14 cinnamon buns.

Recipe inspired by the Sticky Maple Pecan Cinnamon Rolls in the just released book Spork-Fed from the sisters of Spork Foods. These two gals are very entertaining (and enterprising!) and give cooking lessons online and in person.

2-1/4 tsp yeast
3 TB warm water
1 cup soy milk
2 TB Earth Balance margarine
2 C unbleached all-purpose flour
1 C whole wheat pastry flour
1 TB + 1 tsp vital wheat gluten flour
1 TB evaporated cane sugar (Sucanat)
1/2 tsp sea salt

2 TB Earth Balance margarine, softened
1/4 C brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg

1 TB melted Earth Balance to brush on top of buns before baking.

In small bowl, combine yeast and warm water and let sit for about 10 minutes until yeast gets a little bubbly.

In bowl of stand mixer or large non-reactive bowl, combine flours, sugar and salt. Mix until combined.

Gently warm soy milk and margarine until margarine is melted. Do not let soy milk get too hot or you may kill the yeast.

Add soy milk and yeast to flours and mix. If you're using a stand mixer, turn up to "kneading" speed and knead for about 3 minutes until smooth and elastic. If kneading by hand, knead for 7-10 minutes. Place in oiled glass or stoneware bowl. Rub some of the oil on dough and cover with plastic wrap. Let sit until doubled for about 90 minutes.

Punch dough down, knead a few times and roll out into a rectangle. Spread with softened butter. Mix filling ingredients in small bowl and then sprinkle on top of dough. Use as much or as little as you like. I had some left over.

Roll up so you have a long log. Cut into 2 inch segments. Place on cookie sheet about 1/2 inches apart. You can oil the cookie sheet, use parchment paper or a Silpat liner. I recently discovered Silpat liners and they are very cool. It's a non-stick silicone liner that can be reused.

Dough has risen second time, ready for oven after being brushed with melted margarine.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Brush melted butter on top of buns, cover with towel or plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, about 30-45 minutes. Bake for 20-30 minutes until lightly browned. Your nose will tell you when they're done but if you're not sure insert a temperature probe into a middle bun and it should register around 200 degrees when fully baked. Let cool and frost or drizzle with Vanilla Maple Icing.

Vanilla Maple Icing
3/4 powdered sugar
1 TB soy milk
1 tsp pure maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract

Sift powdered sugar into small bowl and add rest of ingredients. Mix until no lumps remain and icing is desired consistency. Drizzle or frost buns. Enjoy!

Fresh out of the oven, ready for drizzle of Vanilla Maple Icing!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Basic Vanilla Cupcakes

This is actually a cake recipe from Sweet and Natural – More than 120 Naturally Sweet and Dairy-Free Desserts by Meredith McCarty. I simply must have my sweets and this makes me feel a little bit better about it. Today I'm just going to post the recipe. I will be reviewing the book at a later date because I feel this is worthy cookbook. This recipe had a dozen variations and I chose to make a lower fat version. The cake is just a bit heavy but moist, delicious and not too sweet. Everybody loves these cupcakes and I encourage you to try them out with your favorite frosting. I ended up with 21(!) cupcakes. Recipe reprinted with permission from Meredith McCarty. You can find her at

1-1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1-1/2 cups unbleached white flour
1-1/2 TB aluminum-free baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup canola oil*
1 cup pure maple syrup
1-1/2 cups soy milk
1 TB vanilla
*alternate lower fat ingredients
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup applesauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix dry ingredients into large bowl, whisk to mix. Mix wet ingredients into smaller bowl, mix. Add wet ingredients into dry and whisk until batter is smooth with no lumps remaining. Do not overmix. I used a mixer until all lumps were gone. Scoop into muffin pan lined with cupcake liners. Bake for 20 minutes until tester comes out clean. Take out of muffin pan and cool on wire rack.

I like to frost these with Orange Icing.

Orange Icing
1-1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp orange zest
2 TB fresh orange juice

Mix until no lumps remain. Add additional juice if frosting is too thick. When cupcakes are cool, thinly frost.

Coming up next: Cinnamon Buns with Vanilla-Maple Icing!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes

These are mighty tasty cupcakes. They do not taste like beer, it just adds to the moistness. They are delicious to eat with the leftover stout as your beverage. This recipe has a crumb crust so you don't have to frost it. Bake it and it is done! This is a variation of the recipe in Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero. I truly do recommend this book. Every recipe I've made from it has been delicious! Makes 12 cupcakes.

1/4 C all purpose flour
1/4 C cocoa powder
1/4 cup sugar
2 TB canola oil

3/4 C soy milk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 C plus 2 TB all purpose flour
1/2 C whole wheat pastry flour
1/3 C cocoa
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 C stout beer
3/4 C sugar
1/3 C canola coil
1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place liners in muffin tin. To make topping, mix dry ingredients until well blended. Add oil and mix until it's clumped in pea size balls. Set aside.

In large bowl, add milk and vinegar. Mix and set aside. In medium size bowl, add flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Mix well. Add the rest of wet ingredients including sugar into the large bowl and mix until frothy. Add dry ingredients in two passes. Mix for a couple of minutes with a hand mixer. Scoop batter into liners. Sprinkle topping on top of each cupcake, taking care that it doesn't sink into batter. Bake for about 22 minutes until toothpick comes out clean. Let cool on rack.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Spicy Kale Chips

If you love spicy and love chips you gotta try this recipe. Kale is super good for you and this recipe uses minimal fat and is baked – not fried. Just be careful because they are addictive!

1 bunch of kale
1-1/2 tsp olive oil
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4-1/2 tsp chili blend
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp nutritional yeast (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut stems out of kale leaves and save for your compost pile. Tear into pieces and wash well in salad spinner. Spin until dry. Place large bowl. Pat with paper towel if any moisture remains. Sprinkle oil and spices over leaves and mix well. Using your hands is the most efficient way. Spread onto two cookie sheets and bake for 10 minutes. If dry and crisp take out of oven. If they are still a bit damp, stir bake for another couple minutes. Let cool and enjoy!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Bread Machine Pizza Crust

I love to make my own pizza crust. You really do end up with a far superior pizza. I don't like to spend a whole lot of time and effort though. I came across this crust recipe that you make in your bread machine dough cycle - EASY! And it was enough dough for two medium pizzas. I used half and froze the rest until I was ready to bake another pizza. This crust was super firm and held up well with lots of toppings. I would make it again! The only issue I had making it was there didn't seem to be enough water and I added about an extra quarter cup water to the bread machine during the mix cycle. It varies depending on your flour, how dry the air is, etc. You just need to eye-ball the dough and adjust accordingly. At the end of the day, pizza dough is very forgiving and 99.9% of the time it will be delicious!

Whole Wheat & Semolina Pizza Crust
1-1/4 cup warm water (reserve 1/4 cup to add if needed)
1/2 tsp agave syrup
1 tsp coarse ground salt
1 TB olive oil
1 cup semolina flour
1-1/3 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour (I used white whole wheat flour)
2 TB vital wheat gluten
2 tsp yeast (or one package)

Select dough cycle on bread machine. Place all ingredients in bread machine maker in order given. Push start button. After it is mixed check the consistency of dough and add more water if too thick. It may just be fine; when I made the dough, it was too thick. If that's the case for you, add 1 TB of water at a time till it looks "right." Don't get worked up about this.

Preheat oven with baking tiles or stone at 500 degrees for an hour. Split dough in half, and roll out one ball. If it's too springy, let it sit for 15 minutes or so. Roll, place on pizza peel with piece of parchment paper on it, and top away! Bake for about 10 minutes until edges are lightly browned. I like to slide parchment paper out from underneath the pizza about halfway through. But if you forget, or don't, it's okay. Enjoy your totally awesome, healthy, home made pizza pie!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Gluten Free Chocolate Chunk Cookies

First off, I have to say that until this past week, I have NEVER bought pre-mixed cookie dough. Too much sugar, too many additives, dairy, eggs, etc. However – I was shopping at Fred Meyers and I saw this Gluten-Free Chocolate Chunk cookie dough in the health food section cooler and had to try it. I want to encourage and support their efforts to buy anything vegan. Gluten was the only kind they had so I bought it. Wow! Was I in for a treat. These cookies are so delicious! Chewy! Not too sweet! And the great part is you can bake the whole package or just a few. It was a bit pricey at about $6.79 but I'd buy this stuff again. I do know that I am going to explore making my own gluten-free cookies. I really loved the texture.

Here is the website if you want to check out the other flavors:

For you curious folks out there, here is the list of ingredients: Garbanzo Bean Flour, Brown Rice Flour, *Gluten free Vegan Semi-sweet Chocolate (sugar, chocolate, soy lecithin, vanilla), Expeller-pressed natural oil blend (soybean, palm fruit, canola and olive), filtered water, pure salt, natural flavor (derived from corn, no MSG, no alcohol, no gluten), soy protein, soy lecithin, lactic acid (non-dairy, derived from sugar beets), and beta-carotene color (from natural source), *Brown Sugar, *Apple Sauce, *Evaporated Cane Juice, Pure Vanilla Extract (vanilla extractives in water), Baking Soda, Xanthan Gum, Sea Salt.

*Certified Organic Ingredients, Fair Trade Certified™ This Product Contains Soy. This product is made in a facility that uses peanuts.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Peanut Butter Cookies with Chocolate Chip Garnish

These are rather lovely peanut butter cookies, a bit lower in fat than usual, and each one has a single chocolate chip garnish – just for fun! My tasters really seemed to love this cookie. I enjoyed the chewiness and kind of wished I had put more chocolate chips on the top... Makes 24-30 cookies depending on how you scoop ‘em out. I used a tablespoon scooper and got 24 cookies.

1/2 cup organic sugar
1/2 cup unbleached white flour
1/4 cup plus 1 TB whole wheat pasty flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter, room temperature
3 TB canola oil
1/4 cup non-dairy milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
24-30 vegan dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 and line a couple of baking sheets with parchment paper.

Sift sugar, flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into bowl. Stir so the dry ingredients are well incorporated. Combine peanut butter, canola oil, non-dairy milk, vanilla and vinegar in food processor. Pulse until smooth. Add dry ingredients to processor and pulse a few times until dough starts to come together. Transfer to a bowl and mix with your hands until dough is smooth. Shape the dough into 1 inch balls. Place on cookie sheet and press fork tines into top to smash each cookie and make a criss-cross design. Use your little finger or something else about 1/4 inch round and press a hole into the middle of each cookie. Place a chip into each indent. Bake each sheet of cookies for 8-10 minutes and lightly browned on the edges. Let cool a minute or two and transfer to rack.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Mexican Cabbage

You know cabbage is good for you. Black beans too. Some of the other ingredients In Mexican Cabbage are green chilies, corn, spices and a few baked corn tortilla chips. This delicious and quick-to-make recipe from The Happy Herbivore cookbook is even better the next day. I really wish this book was available a couple of years ago. It would have made my transition from vegetarian to vegan much easier. The recipes are fairly simple and quick to make without exotic ingredients. If you were to buy just one vegan cookbook, this one would be among my recommendations. Incidentally, my all time favorite recipe of Lindsay Nixon’s is the Single Serving Brownie, available on her website.

Here is the recipe for Mexican Cabbage:

It would probably be even more delicious with a bit of vegan sour cream!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

My Big Fat Kitchen Fails

 I spend a lot of time cooking and it’s not all wonderful. I've had a lot of “fails” these past two months. I made a lemon tart (for my BFF’s birthday) that sucked and then I made a replacement dessert – a light and luscious lemon cake that was overly sweet, dense, and inedible.

Looks good until you pick it up, then it falls apart!
I should know better but sometimes I just plunge ahead without giving the recipe more thought. (Fools rush in?) The recipe for Sweet Tater Black Bean Burgers looked absolutely delicious. However, it was from a blogger whose recipes were not tried and true. I was worried that the recipe might turn out too sweet which is sometimes the case when you use sweet potatoes. It had a great flavor. It just didn’t hold together. Rule number one when making a veggie burger is it has to keep it’s shape.

Here's an Arugula Tart. Boy did I have high hopes for this one. The crust was so interesting, made out of corn meal, rice flour, millet flour, and corn flour. Try rounding up all those flours! I actually ended up grinding some on my own. The dough was very hard to work with. The filling was soy free (no tofu!) and made with cashews which I was very excited about. In the end it was a whole lot work for a rather unremarkable tart.

Hmmm. I don't remember what kind of cobbler this was 
but there's some kind of oatmeal dribbled on the top.

More kitchen fails:

The Egg-Free Vegan Potato and Carrot Kugel that was rather gummy.

The Cheezy Vegetable Lasagna that was mediocre which isn’ such a big deal but when you have a whole pan of it to get through, well, I’m still pulling leftovers from the freezer.

The Cantaloupe Sorbet that was sickly sweet.

The Blueberry Ice Cream made with the Mimic Cream that just didn’t cut it. It’s still sitting in the freezer ’cause I can’t bear to eat it or toss it!

Here’s the moral of this story: I came across this little homily in a book I’m reading right now, Wild Fermentation by Sandor Ellix Katz. It really made an impression on me.

“Our perfection lies in our inperfection.”

I'm going to apply that to all the food I make, and then it’s all good. Even when it’s not perfect.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Macadamia Nut Chocolate Chip Cookies

This recipe is a keeper. It’s made from spelt flour and rolled oats. If you’re unfamiliar with spelt it’s a whole grain and you can find it in the bulk flour section at the natural food store or pre-pacakged by Bob’s Red Mill at Fred Meyers (in the health food section). The recipe also calls for tapioca flour which you can find in the same place. I like this recipe because of the whole grains and you don’t need to use any kind of egg replacer – the tapioca flour takes care of that. I discovered this recipe in The 30-Minute Vegan cookbook. What a great book. I’m hard pressed to complete a recipe in 30 minutes but I tend to dawdle in the kitchen. The recipes I’ve made from this book tend to be complex in flavor and quite tasty! In all honesty, I have to tell you I left out the cinnamon, nuts, and used canola oil. They were delicious! Makes 24 3-inch cookies. Reprinted with permission from

1-3/4 cups whole spelt flour
1/4 cup tapioca flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 cup rolled oats
1 cup chopped macadamia nuts
1 cup dark vegan chocolate chips
2/3 cup pure maple syrup
2/3 cup safflower oil
2 TB water
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift the spelt flour, tapioca flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl. Whisk well and add the oats, nuts, and chocolate chips, stirring again.

In a 2-cup measuring container, combine maple syrup, oil, water and vanilla and whisk together. Add to the dry ingredients and stir well.

Line cookie sheet with parchment paper and scoop out your preferred size. I like to use a 1 tablespoon scoop; leave about 2 inches between each cookie. Bake for 10 minutes until lightly browned on edges. Transfer to wire rack to cool.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Low-Fat Tabouli

This is my favorite recipe for tabouli that I've been making since the mid-80s. It is an altered recipe from Jane Brody’s Good Food Book – Living the High Carbohydrate Way. Gee, how times have changed. When the book was published in 1985 carbohydrates were not evil. They were considered good for you. I have always liked carbs and this is one reason why. This is a delicious and healthy recipe.

1 C bulgur
2 C boiling water
2 tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped
1 C parsley, finely chopped
3 TB fresh mint, finely chopped
1/4 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed
2 TB olive oil
1/2 tsp salt, optional
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/4 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp ground cumin
dash allspice
dash coriander
In medium bowl, pour water over bulgur and let sit for one hour. In the meantime, chop up tomatoes, parsley and mint in large bowl. In small jar, add lemon juice, olive oil, and spice and mix well. After one hour, drain bulgur into strainer and press to get rid of excess water. Place in bowl with tomato mixture and mix. Add dressing mixture and serve within a hour. If you’re not going to eat it right away, don’t add the dressing until about an hour before serving.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Nectarine Biscuits

Oh. My. God. OMG! Recipes like this make it all worthwhile – the sometimes tiring quest to eat healthier, failures in the kitchen, etc. This recipe combines a flaky biscuit with succulent nectarine, lightly sprinkled with sugar and spice and topped off with a light glaze. It might seem complicated or time consuming but it's not. This is one to serve guests or earn the undying gratitude of your family! The recipe is inspired by the Peach Biscuits from the book Sweet Vegan by Emily Mainquist. It's a beautiful book filled with gorgeous pictures and wonderful recipes. Makes 4-5 biscuits.

1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup unbleached flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 TB Earth Balance margarine
1/4 cup plus 2 TB soy milk
2 TB Earth Balance margarine, melted
1-2 ripe nectarines, sliced
Sugar & Spice Sprinkle
1/4 cup Sucanat or other evaporated cane juice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Mix together and set aside.
2 TB organic fruit spread (I used raspberry)
1 TB water
Mix together and set aside.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare baking sheet with parchment paper.

To make biscuits, measure flours and baking powder into bowl of stand mixer. Stir to mix and set speed to medium. Add 1 tablespoon of margarine, mix for about 5 seconds and add final tablespoon of margarine. Add soy milk and mix until soft dough forms. Place on floured surface. I split the dough into fourths and rolled out each to just over 4 inches and then used a muffin cutter to make a nice 4" circle. I had enough leftovers to make one more 4" circle plus a little bite size biscuit.

Place circles on baking sheet and brush with melted margarine. Sprinkle with sugar-spice mixture. Add sliced nectarines to top of each biscuit. Sprinkle again with a bit of sugar-spice. Bake for about 15-20 minutes until lightly browned.

Biscuits headed for the oven. See the little one in the back?
No way am I wasting any of this delicious stuff!

After baking, place on rack to cool. Drizzle glaze over top. Enjoy!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Clean Your Beans!

This is a cautionary tale. I've been cooking beans from scratch for many years. "They say" to pick through them and discard any rocks, etc. I've gotten a bit sloppy. As I was eating a burrito from a recent batch beans I chomped down on a rock. Aside from the unpleasant sensation it still lingers in my mind. It's hard to enjoy my burritos the way I used to. Anyway, I'm still making beans from scratch but now I religiously pick through them. Here's what I found in a bag of pinto beans.

I found all this in just ONE cup of dried beans.
(No, the pencil wasn't in the bag, it's just for illustration!)

Please learn from my mistake and pick through all your dried legumes before you cook them.


Coming soon! As soon as my nectarines are ripe I am making Nectarine Biscuits – individual biscuits topped with sliced nectarines. Mmmmm!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Healthy & Easy Chocolate Covered Almonds

This is so easy it's like a no-brainer. Almonds are very good for you (see and so is dark chocolate (

I used a very dark chocolate (72% cocao) and it was borderline bitter but still very, very edible. If you aren't up to the heavier chocolates, go for a lower percentage of cocao. Just remember that it's the darker chocolates with all the flavinoids. You can also make more or less of this recipe; just keep the ingredient amounts the same. I made the recipe with 3 oz. each of almonds and chocolate and it was plenty. Also be sure to buy raw almonds; it really does make a difference when you roast them yourself. The nuts will have a delightful crunch.

6 oz. premium organic chocolate, 60% cocao or more
6 oz. raw almonds

Roast almonds in 300 degree oven for 20 minutes, stirring halfway through. Let cool. Heat chocolate over double boiler, stirring until it melts. Pour almonds into chocolate, stir to coat all almonds. Spoon onto parchment paper in clusters or single almonds. Let cool overnight.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Amy's Teriyaki Rice Bowl Revisited

I've made this before and I'm going to do it again. Now it is lower sodium and more closely follows the ingredients in Amy's Teriyaki Rice Bowl. The store bought rice bowl has a whopping 780 milligrams of sodium for a single serving and 15 grams of sugar. I've come across a wonderful teriyaki sauce at New Sagaya store called Spicy Red Chili Teriyaki Sauce by Rub With Love. It's delicious and fairly low in sodium. I have other teriyaki sauce recipes and they use so much soy sauce; too much even when using the low sodium brands. So I'm pretty excited about the Rub With Love. This recipe makes about 4 servings and could make more if you made a bit more rice.

3/4-1 cup short grain brown rice
2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp sesame oil
1/4 onion, chopped
1 TB fresh ginger, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
8 oz. of extra firm tofu, pressed and diced
1-1/2 cups mushrooms, sliced
2 cups broccoli florets
3/4-1 cup green beans, sliced into 1 inch strips
1/2 cup carrots, sliced into 1 inch strips
1/4 cup water chestnuts, chopped
1/4 cup Rub with Love teriyaki sauce

Cook rice according to package directions and set aside. I like to use my rice cooker while I sauteé the rest. Heat oils and add onion and sauté until soft. Add ginger, garlic, and mushrooms and cook until mushrooms release moisture. Add tofu and cook till it starts to get a bit brown.

Meanwhile, steam broccoli, green beans and carrots for about 3 minutes until broccoli is crisp-tender. Take it off the heat and drain.

Put steamed veggies back into pot, add the cooked rice, water chestnuts and teriyaki sauce. Stir well and serve. I like to portion out into single serving freezer bowls, add an additional tablespoon of the teriyaki sauce on the top and freeze. Makes an excellent frozen lunch!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Apple Muffins

These are the original muffins without the muffin tops.

I am re-posting this because I made these again with Sucanat sugar, and Fuji apples. I also ran out of cup cake liners when I baked it. So I just sprayed the muffin pan with Pam. These were even better this time, the interior was tender and not too sweet and that little extra crispness at the edges of the muffin top were oh so, wonderful! From now on, I am never going to use cup cake liners when I make muffins. Now I understand what all the fuss is about “muffin tops.’’

I adore apple muffins and love to try out new recipes. Here is one adapted from Vegan Baking Classics by Kelly Rudnicki. This is a library book that I plan to purchase for my collection – it’s a keeper. My only gripe with the book is she tends to use shortening and all-purpose flour. This particular recipe called for dairy-free margarine which I substituted with canola oil. I also used some whole wheat pastry flour instead of all-white flour. All I had on hand for apples was a huge Honeycrisp. I used about 3/4 of it for the muffins and ate the rest. These are beautiful little gems! Makes 12 muffins.

1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup soy milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup Sucanat sugar
1-1/2 cups apple, peeled, chopped into pea sized pieces with 1/2 cup set aside

1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Mix together in small bowl.

Heat oven to 375 degrees and prepare muffin tin. Mix first four wet ingredients in large bowl and set aside. Mix dry ingredients in another bowl and whisk together. Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until just mixed. Don't over mix. Fold in 1 cup of the apples.

I like to use a ice cream scoop to scoop the batter into muffin tins. Add the reserved chopped apple to top the muffins. Sprinkle about 1 teaspoon sugar topping (more or less depending on your sweet tooth) over each muffin. Bake 23-25 minutes until lightly browned and inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Chocolate Agave Frosting

It's really nice to come across a frosting recipe that's not all butter or powdered sugar. This is a riff on the one in Alicia Silvertstone's The Kind Diet. Tastes perfect atop a vanilla cupcake. Generously frosts 12 cupcakes.

1/4 cup Earth Balance "butter" stick
1/4 cup agave nectar
1 tsp vanilla extact
3 TB cocoa
1/4 cup soy milk powder

Cream the butter and agave together until very smooth. Add vanilla and half the cocoa and mix on low until blended. Add rest of cocoa and soy milk powder and beat on medium-high speed until fluffy.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Susan’s Vegan Zucchini Frittata

 Here's a piece of my vegan zucchini frittata.
See Susan’s pie along with the recipe at

Back in the 80s(!) we used to go to the 13 Coins restaurant. They had a couple of locations that I was aware of, one in Seattle and one in Anchorage. Every time I went there, I’d get the vegetarian frittata. Oh, it was good! And then the restaurant went away and I quit eating eggs and cheese. I’ve always loved the whole concept of sautéed vegetables encased in a savory layer of... what? The vegan version is tofu and I'm just not too wild about tofu. Has this funny taste, you know? Even though they say it is tasteless, I find it has a bitter flavor. I’m theorizing that it may be the coagulant used to thicken it. Anyway, Susan from has a new post for a zucchini frittata. It is quite delicious.

This particular tofu dish did not have a bitter flavor. The tofu I used for the sautéed portion was Wildwood Organic Extra Firm Tofu. I think that really made a difference. Perhaps I better stick to that brand. And the next time I make this (and there will be a next time!) I am going to use some kind of vegan parmesan on the top. 

Just a little bit browner and this pie would be perfect!

Oh yeah, one more thing. The leftovers are great. I made a delicious wrap the next day.

Wrap with leftover zucchini frittata, almond cheese, romaine, bell pepper and jalapeno.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Red Quinoa Black Bean Burgers

 Check it out: Tasty Red Quinoa Black Bean Burger,
with home-grown sprouts on home-baked Thin Buns!

I was jonesing for a veggie burger and lo and behold, the August issue of Vegetarian Times had a recipe for Quinoa Black Bean burgers. This is adapted from that recipe. The recipe called for “Steak Seasoning” which I find somewhat unbearable. I have an all-purpose American seasoning mix that I keep on hand from the cookbook American Vegan Kitchen. I heartily recommend this book especially if you like to simulate the meat eating experience. It’s a perfect cookbook for someone with family members who are not whole-hearted vegans or vegetarians or you’re looking for new recipes for Meatless Mondays. I have included a recipe for “steak” seasoning that will do if you don’t have the American Vegan Kitchen cookbook. Makes about 8 patties.

Red Quinoa Black Bean Burgers
1/4 cup chopped onions
1/4 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
1-1/2 cups cooked red quinoa, divided
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp. veggie burger seasoning (your favorite or see below for spice mix recipe)
1 15 oz. can of black beans, drained and rinsed, and divided
1 cup vegetable broth or water
2-4 TB quinoa flakes

Place onion and sun-dried tomatoes in medium skillet and cook over medium heat for 3-4 minutes until onion is soft. Stir in 3/4 cup quinoa, garlic, seasoning, half the beans, and 1 cup broth. Simmer until most of liquid has evaporated.

Transfer to food processor and process until smooth. Scoop into medium bowl and add rest of beans and quinoa. Add salt and pepper to taste if desired and mix well. If mixture looks a bit loose (and mine did) add 2 TB quinoa flakes, mix in and let sit for a couple of minutes. You're just going to have to use your judgment on this part, you don't want the patties to fall apart or get too heavy. It will firm up a bit more while the mixture cools. If still too wet, add 1-2 tablespoons more of the quinoa flakes. Cool in refrigerator.

Preheat over to 400 degrees and spray baking sheet with cooking oil. Form into patties and place on baking sheet. I like to spray the patties with oil too. Bake in 400 degree oven for 30 minutes, flipping halfway through.

All-American Veggie Burger Seasoning
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper, ground
1 teaspoon black pepper, ground fresh
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
1 teaspoon cumin, ground
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon salt

Mix all together and store in glass container.

Note: As I was putting the finishing touches to this post, I checked the food recalls (see twitter post for 6-28-2011). Earth Fare Spicy Bean Burger was being recalled for salmonella. This is another reason to make it (and grow it if you can) yourself. Less chance of contamination. I’ve been posed the question before: Do you hear of people getting salmonella from home-grown sprouts? No. Those cookies they baked from scratch? No. The sprouts purchased already sprouted and the pre-made cookie dough are far more dangerous to your health than your home made goodies. (Of course, I’m assuming you practice good kitchen hygiene!) 

Friday, June 24, 2011

Almond Cheese

This almond cheese may rock my world!
I'm on a quest for good, no – make that great – vegan cheeses. The beauty of this one is you don't need to add thickeners and it’s just two ingredients. This almond cheese is reminiscent of ricotta cheese and could go sweet or savory. I'm going to use it on a pizza and in my bean burritos. It does take a little pre-planning since it needs to sit for 12-48 hours to "tart up." And you need to blanch and peel the almonds which is not difficult but a little time consuming. Think of peeling the skins off as a project to do while watching Sex and the City reruns, True Blood, or Dr. Oz! This recipe originated from VegNews and can be doubled.

1 cup raw almonds, blanched and peeled*
1 cup kefir water (1 cup water with 2 capsules of probiotic powder) or Rejuvelac**

Reserve 1/2 cup of the water kefir and set aside.
In a high-speed blender, place almonds and 1/2 cup of kefir water and process until smooth. Add more reserved water if necessary (by the teaspooon) to form a smooth, creamy texture. Scoop into a cheesecloth-lined strainer. Allow to strain and ferment for 12 to 48 hours, until desired tartness is achieved.

Remove cheese from strainer, then refrigerate the cheese until ready to use.

*To blanch almonds
Bring pot of water to vigorous boil. Have a strainer and a large bowl with ice and water ready. Add almonds to boiling water and boil for 60-90 seconds. Drain into strainer and plunge into ice water bath until cool, just a minute or so. Drain into strainer and then place onto plate covered with paper towel. Get comfortable in front of TV or outside in the sun and proceed to take off skins by holding each almond between your fingers and pressing down. The skin will pop/slide off. This really doesn't take all that long, just sounds complicated.

**Rejuvelac is made from 3 day fermented wheat and recommended by Ann Wigmore of Hippocrates fame. Rich in lactobacilli probiotics. Here is a recipe for it. There are many more.

 Here is the almond cheese on some pizza. 
It was tasty but I think I prefer the shredded Italian Cashew Cheeze.