Monthly Archives: December 2012

Christmas Gingerbread Cookies… & Chewbacca too.

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So this is Christmas… and what have you done? Another year over, a new one just begun…

I really can’t believe another year has come and gone.  Every year, each of us have personal resolutions, goals to achieve, things we want to cross off our to-do lists or our bucket lists… but what have we really achieved as a whole? Are we kinder people? Are we living the lives we were meant to?  Are we believing in and helping each other? These are among the questions I am personally asking myself on the eve of a new year. I don’t mean to give myself a hard time, but I can’t help but feel there is always more that can be done.  There is always more a heart can grow (remember that the Grinch’s heart grew 2 sizes just in one day alone!), more a soul can aspire to, and there is always more help that can be given!

I hope to do more volunteering and things to benefit others this year. I really respect my mom for doing Habitat for Humanity every Saturday. I can tell how very fulfilling it is to her. She just returned from a trip to Haiti where she helped build several houses. (I’m so proud of you, mama!)

One of my goals this year will be to blog more often, since I believe that eating vegan & sharing these recipes is definitely as step towards living a kinder life in general. I also want to play more music (namely the ukulele, guitar and the piano) and letting my emotions out through art.  I used to achieve those two goals rather easily before I had children, but now, my kids take up a lot of my free time. (Even though “more sleep” should be on my list for the upcoming year, I may end achieving more of my resolutions by going to bed later & getting up earlier! I have been meaning to see more sunrises…) What are some of your dreams for the next year?

Anyway, enough jibber jabber. I think I know what you are really here for… (oh- one more thing- sorry about the annoying blue-highlighted drop down ads. They are NOT there by my choice!)

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No kid can turn down a Wookie-cookie!!  Just try!!

“Traditional” Gingerbread Cookies

These “traditional” gingerbread cookies are easy and yummy. And since they contain molasses, they are high in iron – which makes them the perfect cookie for little vegans! I put “traditional” in quotations because I’m not sure how “traditional” Chewbacca gingerbread cookies are! This is our first time making them, but they will surely be a X-mas tradition in our house from now on! (We got Star Wars cookie cutters & pancake molds from Williams-Sonoma as an early Christmas gift.) This dough cuts best when cold, so roll it out in sections and keep the rest refrigerated until your ready to use it!

  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/3 cup soy milk
  • 2  1/2 cups unbleached flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • for icing: 1 cup powdered sugar + 2 tsp soy milk

1) In a large bowl, stir together the oil, sugars, molasses and soy milk.

2) Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and mix until well combined.

3) Collect the dough into a ball, or 2-3 flattened discs, and wrap in parchment or plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least an hour.

4) Preheat the oven to 350. Roll out the dough. Make it thin for crispy cookies or make it thicker for chewier softer cookies.

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Here are our Chewbacca cookies, before baking.

5) Bake on a parchment lined baking sheet for 9 minutes (for soft and chewy) to 12 minutes (for thin & crispy).  Transfer to wire rack and cool. Ice the cookies when cooled.

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To make icing: mix the powdered sugar and soy milk in a plastic baggie by massaging it around until it is thick like toothpaste consistency. Then cut off a tiny tip of one of the corners and ice those cookies! Then sit them aside until they the icing hardens.

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There is (what I’m sure is) another great gingerbread cookie recipe here. Also, these sugar cookies are easy and great for any occasion. We will be making them in a day or two. I am also hoping to get around to making some of these cookie jars & these coffee fudge brownie jars as gifts! Mmmmm!!

With all the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping and things to do, it’s easy to forget that Christmas is the season of giving… so be sure to spread love, kindness, & peace on earth everywhere you go. Make it your mission to remind others who may have forgotten… It IS a wonderful life!!

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Mint Chocolate Chip Muffins

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I don’t know if it’s the cold weather, Christmas or WHAT that makes me start to crave peppermint.  Peppermint tea, candy canes, mint chocolate chip ice cream, mint chocolate cookies… and in the olden days, Girl Scouts Thin Mints (which sadly are NOT vegan). You know, people think you have to give up SO much to be a vegan… Well, I have given this a lot of thought and I don’t think that is true at all. Sure, I did have to give up some things.. but then again, no, I didn’t…  What I actually gave up was convenience. If I want a thin mint now, I have to work for it by baking my own. But to me, that is the best part about being vegan (besides making the planet a cleaner and kinder place) – being in the kitchen more, eating better ( & usually healthier) homemade food, sharing time making something with my family.  There are so many memories that can be created in the kitchen. It’s one of my favorite places to spend time with my kids, whether they are coloring at the table or trying to help me mix & bake. There’s something magical about creating food, no matter what it may be. Putting ingredients in a bowl and watching it change and turn into something else… it IS magic!

Which brings me back to these awesome muffins.  They are kind of like magic too – just a taste of one makes me smile! I love chocolate… I love mint… I love muffins – and these muffins bring all my favorite things together! (Now only if I could add some coffee in there!) Note: These are NOT cupcakes. They are without a doubt muffins, but they are the sweetest most chocolatey delicious muffins. Perhaps they should be called… dessert muffins?

Sometimes I need to remind myself why I started this blog. I love sharing all kinds of recipes, but sometimes I forget that not everybody has arrowroot flour, flaxseeds and nutritional yeast in their kitchens (though I highly recommend stocking your cabinet)! But seriously… the most important reason I’m doing this blog is to show others that PRACTICALLY ANYTHING CAN BE MADE VEGAN.  (It’s actually pretty easy to find vegan versions of those special treats, like vegan Twinkies or “Fauxstess” Cupcakes!) My goal is to find a good middle ground – where the food is on the healthy side but is also allowing the “everyman” (aka non-vegans) to be able to cook my recipes without too much fuss.  So, I hope I’m more or less achieving my goal and that you are enjoying the recipes you find here!

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Mint Chocolate Chip Muffins

FYI – the crushed candy cane topping is going to melt onto the muffin tops, which leaves a nice crunchy minty delicious muffin top! I suppose if you left it really chunky it may leave some pretty red/white spots as well. I like to dust the tops of mine with powdered sugar for a snowy effect!  Oh – and if you want these extra chocolatey, I recommend using chocolate soy or almond milk!!

You will need:

  • 1  3/4 cup unbleached flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 6 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 12/ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 tsp Ener-G-Egg Replacer* + 4 Tbsp water (the equivalent to 2 eggs)
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 tsp mint extract
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (opt)
  • 1 crushed candy cane for sprinkling on top
  • powdered sugar for dusting on top

(*Ener-G-Egg Replacer can be found in most supermarkets! It is in a yellow box, usually in the “healthy” section. This stuff is great for replacing eggs in baking.)

Preheat oven to 400 F.

1) Sift flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl.

2) In a medium bowl, whisk together the “egg” vigorously.  Add the oil and milk and mint extract.  Whisk well. Add the liquids to the dry, stirring just enough to combine. Fold in the chocolate chips.

3) Spoon into the muffin pans, filling them 3/4 full. Sprinkle the tops with crushed candy cane. Bake 15-17 minutes until a toothpick or knife inserted in center comes out clean.

4) Let sit for 5 minutes then remove to cool on a wire rack.

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Getting ready to bake… the candy cane will melt and make a nice sweet crunchy top!

Variation: If you want a chocolate muffin without the mint, simply leave out the mint extract. (Use chocolate milk for extra chocolatey-richness.) Add to the dry mixture 2 tsp cinnamon and 1/4 tsp cloves. Add 1/2 cup chopped nuts if desired! I made them this way first and they were great!

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Here is a close up where you can see some bigger pieces of candy cane bits that made it through the baking process, giving it some pretty red specks!

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Mmm! Yummy candy cane bits!