Category Archives: breakfast

No-Rise Cinnamon Rolls

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There is not much like homemade cinnamon rolls. If you have the time, I strongly urge you to make the real deal yeast-risen kind… You can even prepare the dough at night and put it in the fridge to rise overnight, which bakes up beautiful & fresh in the morning… But… if you wake up on the weekend craving cinnamon rolls and you didn’t prepare the night before, well, dang. Sometimes you just have to figure something out!! Which is where these come in.

So, I was kinda wingin’ it with these and they turned out really good!  You can make them with any kind of milk… almond, soy or even coconut milk from a can… and  you can choose between soy margarine or coconut oil for your fat. I have done them both ways and I recommend using coconut milk (for moistness) and soy margarine (for the flakiest pull-apart sections)! The taste was good when using the coconut oil but it didn’t make the sections flaky like when I used the soy butter. The oil made them almost muffin-y, which isn’t the cinnamon roll I was looking for.

No Rise Cinnamon Rolls

Ingredients:

  • 3 1/2 cups flour (basically any kind will do! I strongly suggest using at least half unbleached white flour so they aren’t too “healthy tasting” – C’mon, you’re making cinnamon rolls! Splurge! I used 3 cups unbleached flour + 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 6 Tbsp soy margarine
  • 1 cup almond OR soy milk OR unsweetened coconut milk (canned)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/3 cup fresh orange juice (tip: Valencia’s are juicy!)
  • 2 tsp melted butter (for brushing on dough before sprinkling filling)
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar (for the filling)
  • 1-2 Tbsp cinnamon (for the filling)
  • frosting ingredients (see below)

1) Mix dry ingredients and cut in the margarine with a fork or with your fingers until well broken up. Pea sized bits are good. Little bits & pieces make for a yummy flaky dough!

2) In a separate bowl, mix your milk of choice, vanilla & oj.

3) Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour the liquids in.

4) Fold the dough gently with a rubber spatula until it is well combined. Try to mix as little as necessary to avoid having tough dough. The dough should be thick but soft. (If the dough seems a little too dry and isn’t coming together, add a teeny splash more of milk. If it’s too sticky, add a tiny sprinkle more of flour. Do this if only absolutely necessary.)

5) Gather the dough into a ball and roll it out into a large rectangle on a lightly floured surface. It really helps to roll it out on some lightly floured parchment if you have any. That way when you are rolling it into a tube, it doesn’t get stuck on the counter as easily. Roll it out to between 1/4″ – 1/2″ thick.

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Roll out the dough into a thick large rectangle…

6) Brush the dough with the melted butter and sprinkle the cinnamon and sugar. Leave the very edge uncovered, so when you roll it up and pinch it together, it sticks easier.

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Spread the sugar evenly!

7) Roll up carefully & pinch the seam together. Cut the tube into slices (A serrated knife or criss-crossing dental floss to cut the rounds is an easy technique!) Cut them into nice thick rounds… 1  1/2″ wide is good! Im gonna make it a point to shoot for 10 from now on.

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Roll it up!

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Slice it up into thick 1  1/2″ rounds! These rounds aren’t thick enough! Next time I’m making 10 instead of 12.

8) Space out evenly in a rectangular baking pan or squeeze them into a 9″ round dish. Bake at 450 for 12-14 min OR at 375 for 30 min. Always check them at minimum cooking time.

You want to give them a little room to spread out… but the secret to really awesome moist sticky cinnamon rolls is having them close enough to spread/bake squished together…

(Tip: On my first attempt, I gave them too much room. I only put 7 in the pan. I guess I was thinking that way they could get really big, which they did, but the sides were too tough/overcooked from being separated – what I learned is that when they spread together and cook while touching, it makes them way more moist & smushy! So go ahead – jam them all in one pan together!

9) Let them cool for several minutes before frosting them with icing of choice. I suggest Frosting #2.

FROSTING / ICING

Frosting #1 / Glaze

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar + 2 Tbsp
  • 2 Tbsp soymilk
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Frosting #2 / Icing

So, I was making the glaze, but then I paused because I remembered… When I was a kid, we used to get those Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls that you busted open the tube and they were ready to go with the icing on the side – that thick icing that you had to spread over the fresh-baked rolls with a knife… And I thought, this glaze isn’t going to recreate my memory of those cinnamon rolls. It was just too thin. So I added a few things until it thickened up and tasted just right… So I made the glaze above and added:

  • >1/3  tub of 8 oz container cream cheese (I like Tofutti)
  • a splash of fresh squeezed oj
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • a little orange zest (optional)

Blend or whip thoroughly until creamy. Chill until ready to serve. You can thank me later 😉

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These tasted great but there needed to be more rolls in the pan to keep the sides from being over-cooked. Ooooh! They are soooo goood! I strongly recommend making 10 rolls and squishing them all up in there for No-Rise Perfection!

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Banana Coconut Spelt Muffins

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Wow! These muffins are amazing! I love making muffins because they are a great breakfast, snack and healthy addition to my daughters sack lunches.  I made this recipe gluten-free* and soy-free. I really love using coconut oil instead of canola when I can. In my experience, it makes for a moister bread. Also, the benefits of coconut are awesome!  Next time I think Im going to try to make them into jumbo muffins 🙂

* Spelt flour is a good substitute for people with a low intolerance for wheat, though people with serious wheat allergies, such as those with celiac disease, are also allergic to spelt, as it is not 100% wheat-free. If necessary, you can replace the spelt flour with a 100% gluten free baking mix (most grocery stores carry a blend for general flour replacing).

I have a bit of an addiction of downloading free cookbooks onto my kindle… And it doesn’t have to be a vegan cookbook either – veganizing recipes is fun and usually pretty easy! Yes, you could say I’m  bit of a sucker for a bargain – a trait I definitely acquired from my Dad! It’s a blessing and a curse… I truly love scouring through thrift stores to seek out unique treasures to bring home! (My home is filled with such things!) And yet I am simultaneously trying to declutter! It doesn’t help matters much that I’m also a major recycler… I try to recycle everything. Like sometimes instead of throwing something out, I will try to repurpose it… this may explain the boxes and piles I have stashed away that I often pretend are invisible! Overall, I see my recycling efforts as positive. A lot of good things have come from my repurposing! 🙂

The base of this recipe came from one of the free kindle books I got called ‘Smart School Time Recipes’. The original recipe was from ‘Andrea at Bakerymanis.wordpress’, to give credit where it is due, though I did end up altering it quite a bit.

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I found these adorable Snoopy cupcake liners at Michaels Craft Store!

Banana Coconut Spelt Muffins

  • 2 cups whole spelt flour
  • 1  tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup toasted coconut flakes (I used shredded coconut and browned it in a skillet – watch carefully, it browns quickly!)
  • 1 cup mashed banana (this was about 1  1/2 bananas)
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup sucanat or brown sugar (I used light brown sugar)
  • 1/4 cup soy milk +  1 tsp cider vinegar (I used almond milk)
  • Topping: 1/3 coconut flakes + 2 tbsp. turbinado sugar (I subbed brown sugar  because I just happened to be out of turbinado! It turned out awesome!)

1) Preheat oven to 350. Grease 12 muffin cups or line with baking cups.

2) Mix dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt & toasted coconut) and set aside.

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Toasting the coconut is easy!

3) Peel the bananas and mash gently into measuring cup to make 1 cup. Blend in a food processor along with the oil, sugar, non-dairy milk + vinegar. Blend until smooth.

4) Add wet to dry and mix. (The great thing about baking with spelt is you don’t have to worry about over-mixing as you do with gluten-filled flours!) Fill muffin tins equally with batter and distribute topping evenly among the 12 muffins.

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Before baking…

5) Bake 23-25 minutes until they start to turn golden brown on top. Let cool for several minutes… then DEVOUR!!!

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Yum! Yum!

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I love me some muffins!

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Vegan Chick’n & Waffles

Finally! Dinner & A Movie night is back! I hope you enjoy this Dinner and a Movie, featuring the ever so popular ‘Shrek’ quadrilogy! Feel free to watch ANY of the Shrek movies with this meal. We watched all four of them over a couple days and ended up eating this meal with the final movie  Shrek –  Forever After.

Read all about our movie night by clicking here! As always, feel free to comment and send me suggestions or ideas! Thanks! Hope you enjoy!

Flax-Berry Pancakes

This is one of our all-time favorite pancake recipes!! They whip up in a jiffy and my kids wolf them down even faster!!  I often can’t seem to cook them fast enough to sit & eat with my kids at the table! (In my opinion, a decent sized griddle is worth the $20 investment if you don’t have one! You can make more pancakes at once and they cook more evenly.) I don’t know about you, but we love having breakfast food for dinner on occasion!

These are made with blueberries (one of the best fruits you can eat for your health) and also flax seeds (a great way to get your omega-3’s without eating fish!).  Flax seeds are so incredible healthy and they also make the best egg-replacer. If your not on the “flax-train”, its time to buy a ticket! They store wonderfully in the freezer (whole or ground) for maximum freshness.

This recipe is from ‘Vegan Planet’ by Robin Robertson, which is one of my favorite vegan cookbooks.  I like to use fresh blueberries whenever possible. When you use frozen berries, sometimes you end up with purple-ish pancakes – which is no biggie – my 5-year-old daughter definitely doesn’t complain!

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Flax-Berry Pancakes

  • 1  1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp sweetener (I like agave nectar or maple syrup, but raw sugar works too)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp ground flax seeds
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1  1/4 cup soymilk or almond milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 cup fresh blueberries (or frozen, thawed)

1) In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.

2) Blend or whisk the flax seeds and water until thick. Let side for a minute, then whisk again. Add the soymilk and vanilla. Whisk well!

3) Pour wet into dry, mixing until just moist. Fold in the berries.

4) Pour pancakes onto griddle (Personally, I like to use my 1/3 measuring cup for a good size.) Cook until bubbly, then flip. Repeat with remaining batter! Devour!

Serves 4

Potato and Vegetable Stir-Fry (compliments of The Grit)

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This meal is truly one of my favorite things in existence.

Ahhh… the Grit… If you are ever traveling near Athens GA, you would be wise to check it out. The Grit is one of my all-time favorite vegetarian restaurants, one of where I am never disappointed. I could eat there every day of the week and never tire of it. This is one meal that I order every time we go out for breakfast or for weekend brunch.  This recipe is featured in the Grit Cookbook.

This makes 8 servings, so feel free to halve it! It really makes a lot (even a half batch), which is awesome since its great for breakfast, lunch or dinner! I like to serve mine over brown rice with a side of toast (or a biscuit) and grits.

The Grit’s Potato & Vegetable Stir Fry

  • vegetable oil
  • 2 pounds boiling potatoes, such as round white, round red or Yukon Gold, peeled and cut into 1/2″ cubes (I prefer using small red potatoes, scrubbed well and unpeeled)
  • soy sauce
  • 1 cup button or crimini mushrooms, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and thinly julienned
  • 1 small head cabbage (preferably red) shredded or sliced thin
  • 2 small yellow squash, quartered and cut into 1/2″ cubes
  • 2 small zucchini, quartered and cut into 1/2″ cubes
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, cut into thin strips (or red bell pepper)
  • 1 small or 1/2 large onion, cut into thin crescents
  • nutritional yeast
  • 1 batch of golden tofu
  • brown rice, or rice of choice… this could also be served over quinoa!

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1) Prepare golden tofu and set aside.

2) In a large non-stick skillet (or wok) coated with a minimal amount of vegetable oil, saute potatoes over high heat until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle lightly with soy sauce as they cook. Set aside.

3) Stir fry mushrooms until tender and golden around the edges, about 3 minutes. Add vegetables, pepper and onion. Using minimal oil and sprinkling lightly with soy sauce, cook until vegetables are crisp-tender and somewhat seared, about 3 minutes.

4) Return potatoes and golden tofu to skillet and stir to mix with vegetables, then add nutritional yeast to taste and toss to cover completely. Serve over brown rice. Devour!

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I apologize… I could’ve taken a prettier picture, but we could barely wait to eat!! I basically threw it onto our plates and served it right up –  without our usual sides of toast and grits! Mmmm! Sometimes you just cant wait for a good thing!!

Celebrating Dr. Seuss

Hey everybody! Did you know that tomorrow is Dr. Seuss’ birthday?! If you missed it last year, you gotta try our vegan version of “green eggs and ham” (pictured below)! I think our green eggs are especially special because they are made green with spinach instead of food coloring 🙂

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Make a tofu omelet & crack a book instead of an egg!

What makes this batter taste “eggy” is the black salt (a.k.a “kala namuk”) which you can order online, or find at a health food or specialty store. (FYI black salt has a sand-like texture and is dirty-pinkish in color. It isn’t actually black.) You could always leave it out as well, but it is the sulfur in the black salt that really gives it that eggy flavor.

So… in preparation for Dr. Seuss birthday, we made something to wear for our Dr. Seuss breakfast tomorrow… just some fun cutting & pasting, which the kids always LOVE!! Drum-roll please… announcing… Cat in the Hat HATS and Thing 1 & Thing 2 Popsicle Stick Toys!! The best thing about these 2 projects is that I already had everything in our art box to make them! 🙂

To make a Cat in the Hat hat: (2)

  • 1 sheet red construction paper, cut into 1″ red strips, lengthwise
  • 3-4 sheets white cardstock (this will make the hat, the bottom part of the hat, and the headband straps
  • glue stick

First cut one hat shape out of each piece of white cardstock. Then use another piece of white cardstock for the 2 bottom parts of the hat.  Then you will need several long strips of white cardstock that you will use to tape together for the headband part (last). Cut a bunch (like 10) of red construction paper stripes.

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Your basic hat making supplies… here is everything all cut out and ready to go! (note: we did end up cutting the bottom hat piece skinnier).

Now, the fun part! Let your kids glue the red stripes onto the hat! We used a glue stick to keep it from getting bumpy from using too much glue. Make sure the kids cover the strips completely and then smooth them down well. After all the stripes are glued on, trim the excess of the edges.

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My kids LOVE cutting and pasting!!

Next, I glued the bottom part of their hats on and set them under something heavy to flatten them while they dried.

Once dry, staple 1 headband strap to each side of the bottom of the hat with 2-3 staples and fold edge slightly (I stapled vertically)… and I ran out of staples, which is why my kids arent pictured together!

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Here you can see how i folded and stapled the straps to each side, and taped the middle after “the fitting”.

Fit your hat around your child’s head and tape the straps together where they meet!  Voila! Your kids look just like the Cat in the Hat (but without all the hair!). You could even paint their faces like cats, if you so desire! I know my little cat lovin’ girl would be all about that!

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There’s a spunky new cat in town, Dr. Seuss!!

To make a Thing 1 & Thing 2:

  • 2 big fat popsicle sticks, any color will do
  • blue yarn (cut into 2″ pieces) or some blue fuzzy hair
  • some little googly-eyes
  • two small white cardstock circles to label “Thing 1” & “Thing 2”
  • craft glue
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If you have this stuff, you can make a Thing!

First glue the yarn-hair on. I did this part myself because it was a little tricky and sticky. First generously apply glue (real glue, not a glue stick) to about 1″ of the end of the popsicle stick. Lay hair across it horizontally and then generously add more glue and lay more hair vertically. Tap it gently to push it down (be careful! It gets sticky fast and then it tries to glue the yarn to your finger!). Set aside until completely dry (several hours).

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First glue yarn sideways and wait several minutes

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Now carefully glue some yarn in the other direction. Let dry for several hours!

Next, decide where you want to glue on the googly eyes and the circular name-tags. You can add a mouth, eyebrows, etc. if you want to give it an expression! Voila! Your very own Thing 1 & Thing 2 to play with… guaranteed to be less trouble than the real ones!!

(The “Things” pictured below are still drying… which is why we havent drawn on faces yet. I just placed the eyes and nametags on in different ways so you can see different ways of designing your Things!)

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At first I thought the glued part of hair would be the back… but maybe not! The first one looks more like a  “wild thing” Thing! I like him!

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You could even position their name-tags up top of the yarn. You decide how you’d like your Thing to look!

I hope you liked our crafts today, it was too cold to go out and play!  So go buy your tofu & your kala namuk… cook up a green breakfast and then go read a book! Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!!

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This little trickster cat looks ready to get into SOME kind of trouble!

P.S. I tagged this in the “Dinner and a Movie” category since there are several Dr. Seuss movies you could use this food/craft with (including the Cat and the Hat cartoon and/or the Mike Myers version)!! 🙂

Apple Rosemary Scones

Since we have a seriously enormous rosemary bush growing in our front yard, I am always wondering what I can make that includes this delicious aromatic herb. Our rosemary bush is so large, in fact,  that it is now blooming in age with beautiful purple flowers. We use rosemary regularly in pastas, sauces & in general cooking… sometimes we even place a bunch of stalks of rosemary in a jar of water to freshen up the room, but… in a scone?  I admit I was a bit hesitant to try this combination (which you can guess means made my kids extremely hesitant to try it!), but, how will you know if something is for you or not unless you give it a try, right?!  Once again, an important lesson I try to teach my kids daily comes out through baking! (One more reason to love the kitchen!)

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Who doesn’t love the smell of fresh rosemary?!

Warning: The wonderful aroma of these scones will fill up your house and make your tummy growl! These scones are perfect for spring or fall. They are light & crispy on the outside, & soft on the inside. I think they are best served warm. Add butter if you like.  If your kids are anything like mine, they love to help in the kitchen  – so send them out to help pick the rosemary… or perhaps even the apples, if you are so lucky!!

Tip: If you make big scones, you can heat them up the next day in your toaster oven, carefully cut the scone in half horizontally and add a soysage patty to make a mini biscuit-sandwich! Can you say “Wow?!” Oh sorry!… I didn’t realize your mouth was full! Mmmmmmmmmm………….. Delicious!

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Apple Rosemary Scones

  • 1  1/4 cups non-dairy milk
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 3 cups unbleached flour
  • 2 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed gently
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening (I use Spectrum)
  • 2 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1  1/2 cups diced sweet red apples (about 3 small apples)
  • 1/8 cup finely chopped fresh rosemary (or 1 Tbsp dried & crushed)
  • a little sugar for sprinkling (raw sugar or brown sugar)

1) Preheat oven to 375. Mix the milk and vinegar in a large measuring cup. Set aside.

2) Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, brown sugar, nutmeg and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl. Add the shortening in clumps, mixing in well with a pastry cutter, a fork or your hands. Break it up until it is in little pea like crumbles. Add the rosemary and apples.

3) Mix the oil and vanilla into the milk/vinegar mixture. Create a well in the center of the dry mixture and pour the liquid into the center. Mix until it is all just moistened, flipping and folding the batter this way and that, trying not to overmix.  A few dry-looking spots are okay.

4) Using a 1/3 cup measuring cup, scoop & drop the scones onto a parchment covered baking sheet.  You should get 12-16 scones, depending on the size you scoop them. Sprinkle the tops with some sugar, then bake 18-22 minutes until the tops & sides are lightly browned. Transfer to cooling rack to cool and enjoy warm! Devour!

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Apples + Rosemary = Heaven (who knew?!)

Vegan Strawberry Shortcake #2 (the yellow sponge cake version)

I don’t know if its pre-spring fever or what, but I have definitely been pretty busy the last few days… chasing the kids around the house & yard, playing with play-dough, water-painting, going on walks, trying out the new sports equipment that they got for their birthdays, etc. (We had a superhero themed birthday party this year, which I will post about later!) And on top of all the normal “busy mom” activities, I just completed a commissioned portrait. You may not remember I mentioned I was an artist… my art kinda got put on hold after I had kids. One of my resolutions this year was to start doing art again, so needless to say, I was thrilled when a great opportunity to draw a portrait came my way.  Hopefully it is the first of many to come!

Time is just flying and I can’t believe my little girl will be starting kindergarten in the fall. I guess now is the time to really make sure we “live in the moment” and enjoy the last few months of sleeping late and doing what we want all day!! Which leads me to…

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Saturday-morning Strawberry Shortcakes! I definitely have fond memories of eating strawberry shortcakes when I was a kid. (And, no, this isn’t deja vu… I posted a scrumptious strawberry shortcake biscuit recipe a while back).  Anyway, when I was a kid, we usually ate the round spongy yellow cakes with the concave center for filling with strawberries and whipped cream.  My family must have loved them because I never ate strawberry shortcakes on a biscuit until I was an adult! (If you haven’t tried my shortcake biscuits, click the link above and take a look! They are deeeeelicious!)

My husband also grew up on the yellow sponge-cake shortcakes… So, with a carton of organic strawberries calling to me in the fridge and a can of soy whip in the door, I knew it was time to try to make some vegan strawberry shortcake “sponge-cake”… and I knew the kids wouldn’t complain!

Honestly, I usually try not to make things that require a lot of sugar, but on occasion, I will allow my kids to indulge on this kind of special breakfast/dessert.  I also look at it this way: #1) I know exactly what’s in it #2) The ingredients are as simple & as natural as I can buy them… unbleached flour, raw sugar, etc.) #3) it’s not a fried donut or some kind of fast food, and #4) it contains real fruit, which we always buy organic.

Fresh strawberries are probably only one of the fruits found at your local Farmers Market. Our market starts up in March… and I can barely wait! I love supporting the local community and farmers! You can also make this with blueberries and it is just as good!

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This is close enough to “the real thing” for me! YUM!

Vegan Strawberry Shortcake (yellow “sponge” cake version)
(makes 9 squares)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 egg replacer “egg” (I used Ener-G-Egg Replacer where 1  1/2 tsp egg replacer powder + 2 Tbsp water = 1 egg)
  • 1 cup raw sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup soy milk (or non-dairy milk of choice)
  • 1 1/4 cup unbleached flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • strawberry “sauce”  (optional)

1) Mix all ingredients together.

2) Pour into a greased 8 x 8″ pan and bake at 350 for about 25 minutes until a knife inserted in center comes out cleanly. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from the pan to a wire rack to cool completely.

3) Cut into 9 squares. When assembling the shortcakes, cut each square in half  horizontally. Layer your shortcake as desired, alternating the cake, strawberries, whipped cream, and strawberry “sauce” if desired. Devour!

I especially find that if I mention the possibility of a special weekend breakfast in trade for good behavior during the week, the kids try a little harder to be good (though I admit, when I do this, I have to remind them by saying “shortcakes” a few times a day when they start to misbehave!) And it also doesnt help that I’m a bit of a pushover for sweets! 🙂

Vegan Broccoli Cheese Grits

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I suppose if living in the south means I have to like grits, then, well, I have no problem with that!  Grits can really hold their own! They can be breakfast (a giant bowl of grits served with a side of toast is a filling & delicious meal) OR they can sit on the sidelines alongside a tofu scramble or biscuits & soysage.   If your kids like broccoli and cheese rice, you have got to try this recipe!!!

If you don’t have nutritional yeast in your pantry yet, it’s time to break down and go buy some! You wont regret it! It’s delicious! I regularly put it on pasta, popcorn & tofu, just to name a few things. Red Star is a popular brand.  Check  your nearest health food store!

I can’t believe that I had never thought of this delicious & easy addition to traditional grits! Adding broccoli not only increases the deliciousness, but adds tons of nutrients and makes the desire to add cheese obsolete! I used to melt soy cheese into my grits, but I can honestly say, THIS is the way I’m eating my grits from now on! It’s healthier and it tastes better! Win-Win! 🙂

Vegan Broccoli “Cheese” Grits

  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup corn grits (yellow or white) (please note: cornmeal is not the same thing as grits)
  • anywhere from 1/2 – 1 cup chopped broccoli (I like to use 1 cup)
  • 2 heaping Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 2-4 tsp olive oil or soy margarine (I used Earth Balance)
  • 1/2 tsp salt

1 – Combine the water and broccoli in a non-stick saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes.

2- Remove from heat and stir in grits with a long-handled wooden spoon. Return to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes.

3- Stir well, add remaining ingredients and mix. Devour!

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I enjoyed my grits with some buttered toast & “eggplant” bacon. (Note: the eggplant “bacon”
did NOT turn out as expected! Maybe its just not for me. Or maybe I made it wrong. Next time I’m using my good old reliable tempeh bacon or Smartbacon!)

I saw some new “faux shrimp” recently at the grocery store. It was NOT vegan… It contained egg or something. (It may have been the Yves brand?) It was alongside even more “faux seafood”, which I thought was pretty cool.  If you are vegetarian, you could even make “shrimp & grits”, which is one grit dish I have never had… Honestly, it doesn’t sound very appealing to me… but neither did pineapple on pizza, which is one of my favorite things! (If you ask me, the grocery stores are doing a pretty good job overall keeping up with us vegans! Of course health food stores are still the best places to find what you are looking for, but I was very happy with all the vegan-friendly additions to the natural food section/produce department in the our recently revamped Kroger.)

Man, I wish that all these faux meats were around back when I first went vegetarian! In today’s world, there is really no reason to eat meat! They make being a vegetarian so easy! And more and more stuff is becoming vegan, by demand! Being vegan takes a little more effort – but hey, that’s where I come in, right?!

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!