Monthly Archives: May 2012

Carrot Cake Pancakes

Yes.  You heard me.  Carrot Cake Pancakes.  Those three words shouldn’t be allowed to be on a breakfast menu, right? WRONG! Here is another great creation from Chef Isa Chandra Moskowitz!  If you are unfamiliar with her , you are vegan & you like to cook, I would strongly recommend  familiarizing yourself with her.  She is hands down my favorite vegan chef, with a load of awesome cookbooks under her belt (among those are Vegan with a Vengeance… Veganomicon… Vegan Cupcakes (or Cookies or Pies) Take Over the World… Vegan Brunch…).

These pancakes just blew my mind.  My kids loved them too. In fact, they were so excited about eating pancakes with the word “cake” in the title, they almost didn’t even realize that mommy was grating carrot to put in there!  (My tip for making that carrot grated fine enough is to grate it with a regular grater, then chop it up smaller bits with a big kitchen knife.)  We also put chopped walnuts on top of ours. YUM!!

Breakfast? Dinner? Dessert? How about…  ALL OF THE ABOVE!

Here is the link right to the carrot cake pancakes. I absolutely LOVE her post punk kitchen website (www.theppk.com) and I’m sure you will too – but don’t-don’t-don’t-don’t… don’t you… forget about me… 🙂

P.S.  The Gender Reveal Party was really a lot of fun! That was my first time going to one of those.  My sister & her son opened a box together to reveal pink and purple balloons! YAY! It’s gonna be a girl!

Team BOY (aka the losers!  But hey… we got to keep these cool mustache pins!)

Team GIRL (aka the winners!)

P.P.S. Our trip to the Renaissance Festival was also great!  There was a lot of vegetarian friendly foods… among those were some fried things… I definetly remember seeing fried mushrooms, roasted corn, portobello mushroom sandwiches, pickles… I wish I had asked if they shared the fryers with meat or had a separate veggie fryer.  Oh well, I was glad we brought in our own sandwiches, but it looked like there was a few snacks that we possibly couldve eaten… there was definetely vegetarian friendly food, though there was a lot of meat… steak on a stake…  that kind of stuff! Here are some of the things we saw!

They had quite a number of these funny things!

My daughter got a lovely butterfly painted on her face

Oh! Gargoyles! Hello!

Arlo was NOT afraid of giving the gargoyles “knuckles”!

If you let this guy insult you (for a fee), you got to throw tomatoes at his face!

Another funny picture…

Man-powered rides are the best!

Relaxing in the shade!

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Traditional Coffee Cake

Here’s something to whip up this weekend.  As you may know, I am a major coffee lover, and that also goes for coffee cake.  This recipe is really quick and delicious.  And it will make your house smell oh-so-yummy!  This is a good thing to make for dessert, breakfast or brunch.  (If you don’t have whole wheat pastry flour, you can replace it with unbleached flour.)

Traditional Style Coffee Cake

For the cake:

  • 1 cup soymilk or almond milk (or other non-dairy milk)
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 Tbsp white distilled vinegar
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup unbleached flour
  • 1/2 cup raw sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp salt

For the crumble top:

  • 3/4 cup unbleached flour
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 5 Tbsp soy margarine (such as Earth Balance)
  • (optional) jazz it up by adding 1 cup blueberries

Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly spray a 8 or 9″ square pan with non-stick spray.

To make the cake: Mix the milk, oil, and vinegar in a small bowl and set aside.  In a large bowl, mix flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and salt. (I usually stop here for a moment to assemble the crumble topping.)  Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just combined. Add the berries, if using  (If you do decide to use the berries, throw them into a small dish with some extra flour and roll them around before adding to the mix.  The coating of flour will help the berries not sink to the bottom!) Pour into the baking dish.

To make the crumble topping: In a small bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cinnamon, ginger and salt.  Crumble in the butter with a fork or your hands until all mixed up & crumbly. Add in the nuts. Sprinkle the crumble topping evenly over the cake.

Bake 40 minutes, give or take 5 minutes, until a knife comes clean from the center.  Cool slightly and then DEVOUR!

I am really excited for this weekend.  It happens to be Memorial Day weekend, so there will surely be some fun in the sun and grilling out going on… but I am also attending a party at my sister’s house for my other sister to reveal the sex of her upcoming baby – I can’t wait for this because not only do I get to find out if I’m getting a nephew or neice, I get to see my entire family all together, which is a hard thing to do since that involves 20 or so people!  And I get to visit with my newest niece, Vera, who is just over a month old.

… and on top of all that, we have plans to go to the Renaissance Festival!  I LOVE the Renaissance Festival and I have to say, I’m really disappointed that I havent been in so long!   I must admit I’m a little curious about the food situation there.  I think most of the food will be meat-on-a stick kind of food, so I’m gonna pack a lunch & cross my fingers for extras.  They always have delicious sugar-coated almonds… I also remember them having barrels of big pickles (along with a crazy pickle-man who would occasionally throw a pickle!) Hahaha… oh the memories 🙂

Going to festivals is where one of the challenges enter of being vegan.  On occasions like this, I usually pack us up a really good lunch just to make sure the kids don’t go hungry. A lot of times, I will be surprised and find out something is actually vegan.  You can often find vegan snack foods readily, which are easy to fill up on, but they never feel satisfying and too much of them may even make you feel sick!  Better to be safe and pack a lunch.

There is also a Native American festival at the Gwinnett County Fairgrounds this weekend.  I wish I had time to go to that too!  My kids really enjoyed our last trip to a pow-wow, which was at Stone Mountain Park.

Edamame Hummus

Wow.  I usually don’t get so excited about dip, but I just whipped this up this morning with last night’s leftover steamed edamame, and I can’t believe how good it is!  My kids are practically the licking the bowl clean right now! Edamame is one of those super foods, jam-packed with protein and other nutrients.  It’s especially good for vegetarians/vegans.  I have a feeling I’m going to be making this hummus a lot!   Read more below about edamame below, or if you already know how amazing edamame is, scroll to the bottom for the recipe.

Here’s A Short Novel About Edamame…

(which I copied from this livestrong.com article)

Edamame has high nutritional value and health benefits.  These green soybeans are a natural source of antioxidants and isoflavones, which  has increased edamame’s popularity in the United States. Antioxidants are  beneficial because they can help prevent negative effects of free radicals in  the body. Eating antioxidant-rich foods has been associated strengthening your  immune system and with reducing your risk of cancer, hardening of the arteries  and neurodegenerative diseases. Isoflavones are phytohormones that may help  reduce prostate and breast cancer, diminish the risk of heart disease, lower blood pressure levels and ease menopausal symptoms.  Women who are menopausal  and have low estrogen levels may benefit from snacking on a handful of edamame  daily because of the natural soybean’s phytochemical quality.
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The fresh vegetable soybeans called edamame contain  about 36 percent protein, which is 86 percent higher than mature soybeans.  Edamame’s low oil content, combined with its high protein content, makes this  vegetable very popular with health-conscious people who want a low-fat,  protein-rich snack. Vegetarians and vegans who want a high protein food will  find that edamame’s protein is complete, which means it contains all nine  essential amino acids the human body needs.
Protein helps your body’s tissues to  develop properly and helps your body resist diseases; it produces hormones,  enzymes and other substances your body uses; gives people energy and helps  prevent fatigue. Edamame has no cholesterol, very little saturated fat, and a  half-cup serving provides 11 g of protein toward an average adult’s daily  requirement of 46 to 63 g.
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Edamame is rich in vitamin C and B vitamins, and it is  one of the few natural sources of vitamin E. These soybeans also provide you  with minerals, such as calcium, manganese, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and  copper. Nutrients in green soybeans that benefit heart health include vitamin K  and folate, which increases the production of red blood cells. Folic acid is  also essential for pregnant women because it helps with fetal  development.
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Adding edamame to your diet will help you increase your  fiber intake. Fiber is important for healthy digestion, and a half cup of  edamame contains 4 gr of fiber. Fiber also helps lower cholesterol, which may  reduce your risk of heart disease. Another reason edamame is a good snack food  is that the fiber keeps you feeling full for a longer period and this helps you  avoid unhealthy between-meal snacks.
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Edamame has anti-inflammatory qualities and can be a good  food to eat if you have arthritis or other inflammatory conditions, such as  rheumatoid arthritis. Fresh green soybeans, eaten as a snack or a side dish, may  help people with asthma, because this vegetable decreases inflammation in your  breathing passages, and this can reduce wheezing and coughing.
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Your Vegan Neighbor’s Edamame Hummus

  • 1  1/2 cups shelled edamame (I used leftover steamed edamame, but you can use thawed out frozen edamame or I’m sure drained and rinsed canned soybeans would work as well, though you may want to cook them first)
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp tahini
  • 1 medium-large clove garlic minced
  • up to 1/2 cup water
  • sea salt to taste (I used about >1/2 tsp)
First blend the edamame in your food processor.  Then add the rest of the ingredients! Make sure to scrape the sides down occasionally. Refrigerate until cold! (If your edamame was already cold in your refrigerator, you can eat your hummus immediately!… And as with most hummus, this will probably thicken up a little bit in the fridge).  Mmmmm! Excuse me… but it’s my turn to DEVOUR some hummus!
Yum! I love this edamame hummus!

Vegan Zucchini Bread

On Saturday morning, farmers markets around the country will be offering many fresh delicious veggies.  Make sure to pick up 2 good-looking zucchini’s for this bread!  You won’t regret it!

I recently found myself baking more zucchini bread. (I also have a delicious zucchini bread/muffin recipe that uses spelt flour, if you prefer!) I guess the kids and I were ready for a snack… because in less than an hour from being out of the oven, the loaf was already half gone!  This recipe is definitely one to be made repeatedly and to be shared!   It is great for all seasons, freezes beautifully & also makes a nice gift (if you do that kind of thing)… plus my kids absolutely eat it up! I have used this recipe to make both loaves & muffins.  In fact, this bread is SO great, I would recommend that you go ahead and double the recipe so you can freeze a loaf!  This bread actually forms an amazingly soft sweet “crust”  on top that literally melts away in your mouth!

This recipe is slightly adapted from The Joy of Vegan Baking, by Colleen Patrick- Goudreau.  I highly recommend purchasing this cookbook.  It actually won Cookbook of the Year from VegNews magazine in recent years and every recipe I have tried is fantastic!

~Zucchini Bread / Muffins~

makes 1 loaf – OR – 12 muffins – OR- 2 mini loaves

  • 1  1/2 Tbsp ground flax-seed + 1/4 cup water (whisk & set aside)
  • 1/2 cup canola oil (OR you can use 1/4 cup canola + 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce, which I prefer)
  • 1/2 Tbsp vinegar (apple cider or white distilled)
  • 1 cup raw sugar
  • 1 – 1/2 cup grated zucchini (about < 2 small)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1  1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I prefer unbleached white flour)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional, but I definitely recommend using these for added nutrition and yumminess!)

Preheat oven to 325 F. Make your flax “egg” in a small bowl by mixing the ground flax & water. In another small bowl, whisk together canola oil, vinegar & sugar. Take your flax”egg” and whisk that into the mixture as well.  Whisk it all up really well. Stir in the grated zucchini & vanilla.  (Go ahead and use up all your zucchini, even if it goes a little over the 1 1/2 cups – the more the merrier!)

Mix the dry ingredients separately in a large bowl. Add nuts, if using. Using a  rubber spatula, mix the wet into the dry.  (Try not to over-mix, which causes a tougher bread that isn’t as fluffy… definitely don’t use a whisk here!) Disperse evenly between 12 muffin cups or make one loaf. Bake until a knife inserted in center of bread comes out batter-free.

Bake muffins 30-35 minutes / Bake standard loaves 60-70 min   / Bake mini-loaves 40-45 minutes

Vegan French Toast

If you are looking for an easy breakfast to serve (or be served!) on Mother’s Day tomorrow, you are in luck.  This simple recipe is absolutely delicious.  I like to serve this with a side of pre-made homemade tempeh bacon, or Fakin’Bacon, Lightlife SmartBacon, Gimmelean Soysage or fresh fruit.

I don’t know what we are doing yet for Mother’s Day, but I’m hoping to squeeze in a stop at the nearby cupcake shop to get a vegan cupcake that I didn’t have to bake myself (though there’s nothing wrong with that!)!  Happy Mother’s Day to all you hard-working moms out there!

Your Vegan Neighbor’s French Toast

  • 8-10 slices of bread
  • the basics: soy margarine, pure maple syrup, powdered sugar, fresh fruit

Mix batter:

  • 1 flax egg (1 “flax egg” = 2 Tbsp ground flax + 3 Tbsp water, whisked well)  
  • 1 cup soymilk or almond milk
  • 2 Tbsp unbleached flour
  • 1 heaping Tbsp nutritional yeast (optional but recommended)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp sweetener of choice (I like to use agave nectar or maple syrup)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • dash of cinnamon and nutmeg

Spray a hot griddle with nonstick spray, dip bread completely in batter and cook on griddle until golden brown on both sides. If you go to flip the bread and it is sticking, it probably just needs another minute – don’t rush a good thing!

Serve with soy margarine, real maple syrup & powdered sugar, if desired!

shown here pre-syrup (hey, im a dipping kind of gal) with crispy SmartBacon strips

Probably Not Yo’ Mama’s Biscuits (aka Spelt Flour Biscuits)

I have, over time, become… hmmm, I’m not sure if “happy” would be the right word… let’s say more welcome of my sister’s inability to have wheat (sorry Beckster!) because it has taught me to cook with spelt flour.  I really love the slightly nutty flavor of spelt flour.  Using a non-wheat flour** also gives you the privilege of not having to worry about over-mixing something since there isn’t any gluten to toughen it up.

* Spelt flour is practically wheat free, which makes it a good subsitute for people with a low intolerance for wheat, though some people with serious wheat allergies, such as those with celiac disease, are also allergic to spelt. In that case, you should try replacing the flour with a 100% gluten free baking mix (most grocery stores carry a blend for general flour replacing). Please check if you are making these for someone who is gluten-free.

Also, these biscuits are a snap to make. Seriously, I can’t believe they were in and out of the oven so quickly!  Now, I LOVE my buttermilk biscuits, but these are a close second! These are great with jelly & butter, but they can also be used as a “sandwich” for your favorite breakfast fixings… eaten with gravy… etc.

 

Probably Not Yo’ Mama’s Biscuits (aka Spelt Biscuits)

  • 2  1/3 cup spelt flour
  • 2  1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp raw sugar
  • 1/3 cup soy margarine (I use Earth Balance)
  • 3/4 cup almond milk (or soy milk)

1- Preheat oven to 350.  In a large bowl, whisk the spelt flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.

2- Add the margarine to the flour mixture and smash it up with a fork or pastry cutter until it is all mixed in and crumbly like.

3- Make a well in the center of your flour and pour in the almond milk.  I suggest mixing by continuously folding & turning it over and over with a rubber spatula until there are no clumps of flour.

4- Transfer the dough to a spelt-flour dusted surface and gently press or roll the dough out until it’s about 1″ thick.  Cut out as many biscuits as possible, and do the same until all remaining dough has been used.  (I made 9… since spelt flour is a tad more fragile/crumbly, I think 9 is the perfect number… any more and they may end up too thin to cut in half.) Place on center of baking sheet with sides of biscuits just touching.

5- Bake for 12-14 minutes or until tops and/or bottoms are golden brown.  You can stick one with a knife to test it if you so desire.

I think the slight dusting of flour gives these a rustic look.  If you don’t agree, just dust it off!

Right from the oven and smelling GOOD!

Biscuits and coffee… I’ll take this breakfast ANY day!

 

Happy Vegan Cinco de Mayo

Tomorrow is Cinco de Mayo which means most of you are probably getting together for a good time in one way or another.  We like to have a vegan taco night at our house once a week or so… it’s one of our favorite (& easiest) dinners!   My kids are extremely fond of dipping chips into refried beans and guacamole.  They could literally make a meal of that if I let them! Their favorite tacos are simple soft-shelled tacos with beans &  lettuce with a mild sauce, or burritos with the same filling.  I usually like throwing a few more veggies (like olives green pepper & onions) & rice into my burritos… and sometimes tofu!

Most store-bought guacamole and tortilla chips are vegan – just read the ingredients!  I prefer to buy organic when possible.

This meal is a good example of something quick (and mostly store-bought) that you can easily throw together. It can be made start to finish in under 20 minutes. If you have extra time, it is nice to make beans & rice or some kind of  pan-fried tofu cubes to add some home-made quality to this meal. If you are lucky, you can go outside and pluck many of these ingredients from your own garden (like lettuce, tomato, onion, green pepper and cilantro) or get them from your local farmers market.

Making tacos is such a deliciously easy way celebrate Cinco de Mayo. I think most of these brands should be easily found in your grocery store, some (or all) items maybe found in the “healthy” section. 

If you can find this stuff, you will quickly be in vegan taco heaven!

My favorite taco shells are made by Bearitos.  They have blue or yellow corn taco shells. We also use their vegetarian refried beans.  The low-fat and the fat-free are both great!   Fantastic Foods makes a “taco filling” that I absolutely love – It comes in a box and you simply mix it with water. Easy and yummy!

And who can eat tacos without sour cream? Not me! I like Tofutti brand the best. 

Best store-bought vegan sour cream ever!

If you are a lover of cheese… shredded Vegan Gourmet cheddar or Daiya cheddar are both good for this occasion.

And of coarse, on taco night, frozen margaritas are always a welcome addition to the table! And to keep the kids from feeling left out, you can easily freeze some lemonade in ice-cube trays and blend it up for their very own slushy!

We just had taco night a few nights ago but we are ready to eat it all over again tomorrow! Yum!

Here is the spread from our last taco night fiesta!

Vegan ground beef, refried beans & rice… the base of an excellent taco or burrito.

Oh yeeeaaahhh….