Tag Archives: baking

Homemade Pizza, Vegan Style

Who doesn’t love pizza?  There is something very satisfying about making a delicious homemade pizza, made to order.  Some people think that when you go vegan, you  have to give up pizza, but that is simply untrue. After all, all a vegan really does is replace the animal ingredients with plant-based ones.  It’s easy… and most of the time it is better for you!  In fact, when I became vegan, I also discovered that I really enjoy a pizza loaded with veggies without cheese at all!

But, there are definetly times when I feel like eating a cheesy pizza… & when I do, I like to use either Follow your Heart brand Vegan Gourmet mozzarella or Daiya mozarella. My husband prefers the flavor of the vegan gourmet, but I think both are just delicious!  (You may want to note that the daiya “cheese” is a gluten & dairy & soy free cheese… And also, it does tend to melt better on a quick cooking time, (such as this 12 minute pizza), which is probably why our local pizza shop offers the Daiya cheese on the vegan pizzas rather than the other brand.)

delicious daiya "cheese"

So, when Im in a pinch for a quick dinner this is my go-to crust.  It doesnt require any real rising time, which means by the time you blend the dough up, you can practically slap it right onto your pizza pan, top it with sauce, veggies & cheese and bake it for 10-14 minutes… so this can definetly be an under 30 min meal from start to finish 🙂

 Your Vegan Neighbor’s Quick & Easy Pizza Crust

(makes one large crust)

  • 1 1/4 cup unbleached flour
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup vital wheat gluten
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp yeast (I use a kind that I buy in a jar in the flour aisle of Kroger, Fleishmans bread machine yeast)
  • 2/3 cup hot water + enough olive oil to meet the 3/4 cup mark on my measuring cup

(If you are unfamiliar with using yeast, you should note that water that is too hot will kill the yeast.  You do not want to use boiling water.  In fact, I usually stick in my finger to see if it is a good temperature.  It should be tolerable to the finger – it shouldn’t burn you, but it should feel hot!)

1) Preheat oven to 450 F.

2) Mix dry ingredients in the food processor.  Pour the hot water/oil in through the feed tube and let the dough form a ball.   Process for about 40 seconds, then transfer to a lightly-oiled bowl or a floured surface.

3) Let rest for several minutes while you prepare your toppings, then punch it down & roll it /stretch it out to fit your pan. If it doesnt want to stretch as big as you want, just let it rest another minute, and if it gets too thin & starts to tear anywhere, just pinch it back together.

4) Add sauce, toppings & bake for 10-14 minutes until cheese is melty or crust is golden brown.

making the doughball

Here is my dough ball after resting about 10 minutes while I chopped all my veggies!

It is good with cheese or just plain and loaded with veggies!

Misc pizza tips: I use a pizza pan with holes in the bottom.  I think that helps the pizza cook more evenly.  I also give my pan a quick spray w/non-stick cooking spray to ensure that my pizza doesn’t get stuck!  When my pizza is about to go in the oven, I think that drizzling a little olive oil all around the edges of the crust gives the pizza a fantastic end result!

Your Vegan Neighbor’s Homemade Pizza Sauce

Whisk together the following ingredients and spread on prepared crust! This makes enough for 2 pizzas.  (You can also freeze half for another time!)

  • 1 – 6 oz can tomato paste
  • 1 can of water (use tomatoe paste can)
  • generous splash of olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • 3/4 tsp basil
  • 1 1/2 tsp oregano
  • < 1/4 tsp thyme
  • 3/4 tsp fresh rosemary (or 1/2 dry – I have a big rosemary bush so I almost always use fresh rosemary!)

Some of my favorite toppings are chopped broccoli, onion, cubed tofu, black olives, spinach, garlic, artichoke hearts… You’d really be surprised at what your kids might eat when it’s cooked into a delicious pizza! The Yves brand soy pepperoni is pretty good but my kids think it’s a little too spicy for them. And sometimes we just go for a plain pineapple & cheese pizza 🙂  Mmmmm!  I think I’m ready for another slice…

Look! There's a piece of broccoli going in with that bite!

Taking a cautious bite of fresh baked (& little hot) pizza!

Soysage Casserole

This is a great breakfast or dinner casserole.  I could literally eat this for every meal – and so could my kiddos 🙂  It can also be made ahead of time, which is great if you are a busy body.  I included this in the “child’s play” category because it’s easy to assemble, but mainly because the kids love helping tear up the bread (though obviously they can’t help cook the “soysage”!).

For this recipe, I prefer using Lightlife Gimme Lean “sausage”, though any other kind of vegan sausage would surely work (though I have never used another kind).  Some people don’t care for all these “fake meat” products, but for the most part, I find them tasty and a quick healthy source protein.  Having been vegan for 10+ years now, I have tried almost every brand of fake meat, cheese & other non-dairy products out there and I’m always open to trying anything new that I see. Some faux-foods have been not-so-great, but I definitely also have ones that I truly enjoy & find delicious!  If you ever want to know my opinion on a product, don’t be afraid to ask! (P.S. I do not get paid by any company whose products I show… If I am endorsing it, it’s because I truly think its great to use in my recipes.)

That being said… onto the bread!  I find that the heartier/granier the bread the better the casserole.  I would not recommend using a really soft bread, as I have found through experience.  I really like using Masada 6-Grain bread. I cannot stress this enough-  a thick, hearty (or grainy) bread makes the best casserole!

This recipe has been adapted from one of my favorite cookbooks, Vegan Planet, though I have made several changes to the original recipe.

~Soysage Casserole~

  • roughly 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cups crumbled soy sausage (I like to use two tubes of Lightlife Gimme Lean Soy Sausage, prepared as directed below)
  • 2 blocks soft or firm tofu, drained and then crumbled
  • 2 cups soy milk (or other non-dairy milk)
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp ground or whole fennel seeds (if using whole, chop them up into little bits – this is usually what I do)
  • salt and pepper
  • 8-10 slices of bread

1)  Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.  Add the soysage* and cook, stirring until browned. This will take several minutes.  Once browned, remove from heat & set aside.

*If you are using Gimme Lean Soy Sausage, do this by tearing it into little bits (roughly 1/2″ – 3/4″ pieces) and throwing them right into the skillet.  It’s a little sticky and mushy… just keep ripping it into small pieces (you can chop them up further with a spatula if necessary while you’re stirring them around with the onion) then continue following recipe above, cooking until lightly browned.

2) In a large bowl, combine the crumbled tofu, milk, thyme, fennel, and a little salt and pepper to taste.  Mix well, then mix in the sausage mixture and set aside.

3)  Tear the bread into bite-sized pieces and place in a lightly oiled shallow 9 x 13″ baking dish.  Pour the sausage mixture evenly over the bread and set aside several minutes until the liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes or overnight. If it looks a bit dry anywhere, it doesn’t hurt to add a splash of soymilk where needed.  (If you do refrigerate until morning, let it come to room temp before baking.)

4)  Preheat oven to 350 F. Bake until the casserole looks puffy and lightly browned, about 45 minutes.  Let sit for 10 minutes before cutting and serving.  Let cool slightly. Devour!

Mmmmm! I could eat this for every meal!

Banana Chocolate Chip Scones

When someone asks me what I would do if I had all the money and time in the world… several things come to mind.  First off, I love being a mom.  Trying to teach my kids how to be good people is the most important job in the world to me. But that is a job that will never go away, regardless of time or money!  So… next up is helping animals – I am extremely passionate about animals. I love rescuing animals (all 4 of my current pets were rescued) & teaching others to respect and love animals, and I love to show people how many ways there are to help animals, like eating vegan (hence my blog). I would love to operate an animal shelter and rescue/foster animals that need help.  Another thing I love and completely lose myself in is producing art, but it seems (at the moment) I have less time for that now that I am chasing down two little kids!  And last, but certainly not least,  I LOVE to bake!  Cookies, muffins, scones, bread… I definitely feel I am more of a “baker” than a “chef”.  And not only does my baking come from the heart, but it also helps (in a small but important way) bring my love of animals to the table – no pun intended!! I love to produce yummy things from the oven and simultaneously introduce people to the joys of baking without using animals as ingredients 🙂

That being said, I would love to share with you one of my most favorite breakfast scones recipe. No one can deny the goodness of the combination of bananas and chocolate.  (And yes, you can easily find vegan chocolate chips – and I’m not talking about carob chips, which I personally don’t care for.)

Here's one of my favorite kinds of vegan chocolate chips! These chocolate chips are tiny, cute & delicious!

I also find that using part whole wheat pastry flour gives a fluffy end result that wouldn’t turn out the same if you used only white flour. Mmmm. I just pulled mine out of the oven and they smell so good I can barely wait for them to cool for 5 minutes!!

Banana Chocolate Chip Scones

  • 1 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1  1/2 cups chopped bananas (or about 2 small bananas)
  • 1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips
  • <1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 6-7 Tbsp soymilk
  • capful of cider apple vinegar (about >1 tsp)

1) Mix both flours, salt, baking soda, baking powder in a large bowl.  Mix well.

2) Cut in 1/3 cup canola oil with a fork and crumble well to eliminate all balls of oil.  Start with a fork and then use your hands if you wish.

3) Mix in the fruit / chocolate chips

4) In measuring cup, measure the maple syrup, soymilk & vinegar.  The liquids should measure (total) just at 3/4 cup. Whisk them together well, then pour the liquids into the dry mix and fold until it is just mixed.  It may take a minute, just keep folding it over and over from all directions until all the flour is mixed in and no big patches of flour are present.  The batter will be thick.

Measuring out the liquids... be sure to whisk it together well before adding it to the bowl!

5)  Scoop by using a 1/2 cup measuring cup onto a parchment covered baking sheet.  When I do it this way, I get 7 scones.  Press them down slightly in the middle  (they will spread a little tiny bit in the oven).

6)  Bake at 400 for about 12 minutes until bottoms & sides are lightly browned.

Bake until golden brown & yummy looking!

If you ask me, nothing goes better with a delicious chocolate chip scone than some delicious coffee in a Cookie Monster mug!

Variations: You can replace the chocolate chips with nuts, or add nuts to the batter as well.  You could also use strawberries instead of bananas, though I have never done that with this recipe.  I have another recipe I prefer for strawberry/chocolate chip scones with walnuts, which I will probably share another time!

Cakes, Cupcakes and Birthdays

Sometimes raising vegan kids can be a challenge… for example, like when we’re going to a birthday party.  I never felt comfortable bringing my kids their own piece of vegan cake to eat (the last thing I want is for them to feel alienated) nor did I want to tell them they “can’t” have any cake or ice cream that everyone else is eating.  (In fact, I once allowed my children to have a cupcake at a friend’s birthday party before that contained real butter in the frosting – and they didnt die! hahaha) But seriously, my family is vegan for a reason (or several), and naturally I also want my children to feel part of the group and not feel like some kind of vegan weirdo.  My older child, who is almost 4, loves animals and understands why we don’t eat meat or dairy, nor does she want to (at this time).  Hopefully she will continue on the vegan (or at least vegetarian) path on her own as she grows up.  My little man is almost 2 so we haven’t had “the vegan talk” yet!  He basically eats anything he’s given (when I’m lucky).
 
So… anyway, my solution to this birthday cake dilemma is to bring an entire batch of vegan cupcakes along for anyone who wants one.  I must say, this has always gone over smashingly well. This also introduces others to how delicious vegan food can be!
 
The last party I went to (which was about 2 weeks ago), I had to grab aside my kids 2 cupcakes because my vegan cupcakes were flying off the table before the other cake was even cut!  And honestly, I really enjoy bringing and baking cupcakes!  I usually use a recipe from my favorite cupcake cookbook (pictured below) called Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World by Isa Chandra Moskowitz.  There are SO many recipes I want to try!!!  In fact, I’ve made the cookies & cream cupcakes more than once because they are sooo good!

These are the cookies and cream cupcakes (an addition to the basic chocolate cupcake recipe). They contain smashed up Newman-Os in the batter and icing, and one on top.

For my daughter’s third birthday, I baked the “chocolate death cake” (recipe by The Grit, a “famous” Athens vegetarian restaurant) in the shape of Minnie Mouse for her party. 

Here is the baked cake, popped out of the pan and cooling...

 Making the cake was really easy!  The icing part was trickier, but it wasn’t too hard & I thought it was lots of fun piping the icing.  This was the first character cake I ever made and I have to say I think I totally rocked it! I made my own icing and used a piece of an Airhead candy for Minnie’s bow & tongue.  Do I even have to say how much everyone loved it?!  I impressed myself!

All finished! What a beauty!

I also made my son had a Pluto cake for his first birthday.  I found the pan on Amazon online and it was perfect because it was small, so it was his own personal cake.  It’s more of the older version of Pluto than the newer one, and I think it turned out really cute!
 
 
I also made other dog-related “treats” (no pun intended) to go along with it, and hearts too, because my son’s birthday happens to be on Valentine’s Day 🙂

Here are the other sweets I made to accompany the Pluto cake... vegan rice krispy treats, chocolate heart cupcakes and sugar cookie hearts & bones, plus vegan truffles & chocolate covered banana chips (thank you EarthFare for the last 2)!!

As you can probably tell, I love baking sweets & character cakes are my more recent challenge… and they can all easily be made vegan!  Don’t let anyone make you think otherwise!  I highly recommend that cupcake cookbook I mentioned above.  I use the basic vanilla & chocolate cupcake recipes a lot & there are tons of awesome frosting recipes in there too!  It is a vegan must-have!

Vegan Buttermilk Biscuits

Some days, we all need something we love to give us some comfort or to give us relaxation. Maybe for you its wrapping up in your favorite super snuggly blanket and watching a movie… maybe it’s something warm, like a really great cup of coffee or tea… or maybe it’s reading a good book with a glass of wine.  With all the hurry and running around that life throws at us on a daily basis, we all need to feel taken care of sometimes (yes, all of us, whether or not we want to admit it).  One thing that does it for me is eating some good-old comfort food.

We all have our list of favorite comfort foods, and one of mine is (simply)… biscuits. I love biscuits because they are so versatile. You can make a breakfast biscuit by layering it with veggie cheese and “soysage” or fakin’ bacon.  You can stuff it with tofu scramble. You can serve it up with gravy.  You can serve it up with some grits & tempeh, or you can just eat it all by itself with some jam.   A good biscuit can multi-task as well as some of us parents 😉

These biscuits are my current favorites.  Sometimes I add garlic, veggie cheese and oregano to the batter when I know I will be eating them with tempeh, soysage or making a tofu scramble.  Other times I like to leave that stuff out so I can spread them with my favorite jelly.  Busy morning?… Heat up some tofu-chicken (I suggest Gardein vegan chicken tenders) for a yummy quick faux chicken-breakfast-biscuit (cheese optional) that you can eat on the run (even in the car). The biscuit-ilities are endless!

~Old-School Vegan Buttermilk Biscuits~

  • 1  1/2  cups all-purpose flour
  • heaping 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1  3/4 tsp sugar (omit if making the garlic & cheese biscuits)
  • > 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable shortening
  • 2 Tbsp soy margarine, chilled and chopped into bits
  • > 3/4 cup soymilk
  • < 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

If making garlic & cheese biscuits, add to dry ingredients:

  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • (set aside to add in last) 1/2 cup vegan cheddar cheese, chopped (I prefer follow your heart vegan gourmet cheddar)

Preheat the oven to 450 F.  Whisk the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.  Cut in the shortening and margarine with a fork until the mixture resembles crumbs.

Whisk together the soymilk & lemon juice (this makes “buttermilk”).  Set aside for 10 minutes.  Next, add the vinegar.  Form a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the liquids. Gently fold together – don’t overmix! (At this point, add cheese if using.)

With floured hands, consolidate the dough into a ball (if it feels too sticky, give it a light dusting of flour) and move the dough ball onto a floured surface.  Sprinkle dough lightly with flour and flatten gently into a big round circle until about 1/2″ – 2/3″ thick.  Use the rim of a glass or a biscuit cutter and make 9-12 biscuits, depending on how thick you have them.  (I usually shoot for 9 biscuits that are about 2″across.)  Place them in the center of a baking sheet with the sides just touching.  Bake 12 minutes or until bottoms begin to brown. If desired, you can brown the tops lightly under the broiler.

Garlic-Cheddar Biscuits with Grits & Tempeh Bacon... this dish should be called "the southern delight!"

( I included these biscuits in the category “childs play” because my little girl LOVES to help stamp out the biscuits with a round cookie cutter!)

Today's Tempeh & Grits made a "flower"... sometimes we eat the "tempeh graveyard" - that's when we put vertical tempeh pieces in the grits like gravestones... Aww man, maybe I should have shared that idea before Halloween! Oh well!

Cinnamon Rolls

When I think of Halloween, I think of fall… pumpkins… having fun… dressing up (more fun)… and let’s face it – SUGAR!!  If you have kids (or are a big kid at heart), you’ve probably been pretty busy lately going to pumpkin patches and Halloween parades.  For Halloween this year, I’ve decided to share with you my most recent, most favorite, most-sugary, non-candy, yummy homemade treat… a.k.a cinnamon rolls!

I have warm fuzzy memories of eating cinnamon rolls throughout my life… There’s the Pillsbury ones I used to eat as a kid that you popped right out of the refrigerated tube & baked… & there’s the ready-made, full-of-preservatives boxed kind (that sit on store shelves for days before being eaten)… sadly(?), neither are vegan – which I have decided is probably a good thing! If you are vegan, you probably know it is practically impossible to find a vegan cinnamon roll, let alone a freshly baked one.

Once upon a time, there was a vegan bakery here in Athens (the Green Scene Baking Company) that made some out-of-this-world delicious vegan cinnamon rolls, baked fresh on the weekends, but the Green Scene sadly closed a few years ago when the owner decided to move to New York 😦 We miss you, Green Scene!

I definitely have a love affair with sugar, and I have dreamed of making cinnamon rolls for what seems like FOREVER. I’ve long ago book-marked all my cinnamon roll recipes in my books, but still kept putting off making them.  I guess they just seemed like too much work or time.  Well, let me just say, there is definitely something to be said for homemade cinnamon rolls.  For one thing, they do take some effort (kneading the dough… and being patient while the dough rises), but that effort turns into the most delicious treat that you simply cannot replicate from a can. Personally, I think rolling & cutting the cinnamon log is fun!  I was practically drooling from the anticipation of eventually eating one!

So, make these yummies and pat yourself on the back (or tummy) for doing some actual work!  I promise you, these babies are so much better than store-bought rolls or tubes. They are worth the extra effort!  If you have a mixer with a bread hook, let it do most of the work for you!  If not, get those arm muscles ready to knead some dough!

~Cinnamon Rolls~

Dough:

  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup soymilk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 pack yeast (or 2  1/4 tsp if you are using yeast from a jar)
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2  1/2 –  3 cups all-purpose flour

Filling:

  • 2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup chopped nuts, like pecans or walnuts (optional)
  • 1/2 cup softened earth balance (or other soy margarine)
  • a little raw sugar to sprinkle on top before rolling the dough

Icing:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • < 2 Tbsp almond or soymilk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

RITA’s TIP: I like to let my mixing bowl sit with some hot water in it to warm it up first. Just don’t forget to dump it out before starting your recipe!

First, make the dough:

Heat the water, soymilk & sugar in a small saucepan until warm.  If it’s too hot, it will kill the yeast – if it’s too cold, the yeast won’t grow, so think like Goldilocks and make sure it’s just right! Put in the dough-mixer bowl. (I have a Kitchen-Aid mixer with a bread hook attachment.)  Add the yeast and wait until its bubbly/foamy looking, so you know the yeast is “alive”.  Add the oil, cinnamon, salt and 2  1/2 cups flour.  Mix (using bread/dough hook) until it’s not sticking to the sides, adding more flour as necessary.  If you do not have a mixer with a bread hook, you will have to knead this by hand!  Knead for 5-7 minutes until dough is nice and smooth.  (Don’t skimp on the minutes here – the kneading process is vital (no pun intended) to making the gluten activated in the dough.) Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap or a towel, and let rise for 1 hour in a warm place.

Make the filling by mixing the filling ingredients together while the dough is rising and set it aside.  After dough has risen, punch it down and then let it rest about 10 minutes. Then roll out the dough into a large rectangle (try to shoot for a large rectangle, 12″ x 18″).

Spread the filling evenly over the dough and give it a little (or a generous) sprinkle of raw sugar. Next, carefully roll the dough as tight as you can into a big log, pinching it closed when you get to the end (spread a little water on the edge to help seal it shut).

Cut the log into 12 rolls.  I like to cut it in half and then cut each half into 6 even pieces.  They should roughly be 1″ thick.

Arrange them, slightly spaced out, on either a baking sheet or a 9 x 13″ pan.  As you can see, I first used a round baking dish but the rolls got too big and were popping out as they were baking, so I would recommend not using a small round pan. Give them a little room to rise and cover them loosely with plastic wrap or a towel*.  Let the rolls rise for another 30-40 minutes until almost doubled.

* At this point, if you tightly wrap the prepared rolls, you can put them in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.  When ready to bake them, take them out of the fridge & let them come to room temp for about 30 minutes and then wait until they double in size before baking.

The rolls looked good in this pan until they grew more in the oven and were popping out!

Bake at 375 for about 20 minutes, or until rolls are golden and sound hollow when tapped.  Let the rolls cool for about 5 minutes – in the meantime, prepare the icing by mixing ingredients together well with a fork in a small bowl. Drizzle the icing on the warm cinnamon rolls and ENJOY!

This is after baking...See how they are all popping up and out of the pan?! I would recommend using a different pan with more room for them to grow! This is before I put icing on them.

The end result - a stunningly delicious homemade cinnamon roll!

P.S. I came up with this recipe after reviewing several other cinnamon roll recipes, taking & giving here and there… I have only made these once, so feel free (as always) to comment and give me some feedback!  I decided to only make these on special occasions or when I have guests because there is no excuse to eat 2-3 cinnamon rolls a day by oneself!  Not to mention, my kids tried to eat one for every meal!

Zucchini Muffins

If you have trouble getting your kid to eat zucchini, look no further!  These light fluffy muffins are packed with zucchini, yet they are moist & delicious (and they also happen to be gluten-free*)! They are perfect for breakfast or a quick snack.   I really like the flavor that using sucanat adds, but if you have trouble finding sucanat, regular light brown sugar will do.

* Spelt flour is 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).

I have been experimenting with some gluten-free cooking lately, which was inspired by one of my sisters, who is also soy free (be on the look out for my gluten & soy-free pumpkin pie around the holidays)!  I love learning about different kinds of baking… its all science really. Sometimes your experiment ends with a truly amazing result… sometimes it doesnt turn out like you hoped.  Thats when you try a different ingredient, a different flour… one tiny change in a recipe can take it to an entirely different place.  I love baking more than any other kind of cooking!

~Zucchini Muffins~

  • 1 cup almond milk (or other non-dairy milk… Stick with almond milk if you are making a soy-free muffin)
  • 3 Tbsp ground flax seeds
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2  1/2 cups spelt flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1  1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup canola oil (or use half oil, half applesauce)
  • 1/2 cup packed sucanat**
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups grated zucchini (about 2 small zucchini)

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Spray/grease muffin tin.  In a small/medium bowl, whisk the milk & flax well.  Add the vinegar, mix, and set aside.

In a large bowl, stir together the spelt flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices.

Add the canola oil, brown sugar & vanilla to the milk mixture.  Make a well in the center of the flour bowl & pour in the liquid mixture.  Stir to combine then fold in the zucchini.

Fill muffin cups and cook 25-28 minutes, until tops are firm and knife inserted into the center of a muffin comes out free of batter.  Since spelt flour is tender, let the muffins cool for about 15-20 minutes in the muffin pan before transferring  to a wire rack to cool completely, to avoid the tops breaking off.

You’d never know these were gluten-free muffins!

** Sucanat is made by simply crushing the sugar cane to squeeze out the juice, heating it until it’s a rich syrup and aerating it by hand-paddling to create a porous granule.  It hasn’t been separated, blended, refined or filtered. It has a distinct molasses flavor that enhances many foods.  You can use sucanat as a 1-for-1 replacement for refined brown sugar.  It is found with the other brown sugars in the grocery store/health food supermarket.

Coffee Muffins

In the morning I really like my coffee… sometimes with some more coffee on the side.  If you are anything like me, you will love these delicious coffee & chocolate muffins.  I don’t ever give my kids soda, so I feel that the small amount of caffeine they ingest is minute in comparison.  Plus, you could make these muffins decaf if you wanted to anyway!  I would definitely recommend using organic applesauce since apples can be high in pesticides.  I must warn you… these muffins are highly addictive!

~Coffee Muffins~

  • 1 cup almond milk (I recommend almond milk for these muffins, though you could always use a different non-dairy milk)
  • 1 heaping Tbsp instant coffee crystals
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup raw sugar
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened organic applesauce (or organic cinnamon applesauce, if you prefer)
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 375 F.  Lightly grease/spray your muffin tin/cups.

In a large measuring cup, mix the coffee crystals with 1/2 cup of the milk, stirring to dissolve.  Then mix in the rest of the milk & vinegar and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, & salt. (I like to use a whisk to mix my dry ingredients cause it helps not fling flour everywhere.)

Take your coffee/milk/vinegar mixture and add the applesauce, canola oil, & vanilla to it. Whisk together well.

Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the liquid mix.  Mix together until just mixed. Try not to overmix. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Fill all the muffin cups evenly and bake for 22-25 minutes, until a toothpick/knife inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Let cool 5 minutes before removing from tins and set them on a cooling rack for further cooling. 

These reusable muffin cups are great & they keep you from having to buy more stuff!

Variations: These can also be made jumbo, by adding an additional 7-10 minutes to the cooking time.  You can also skip the applesauce if you don’t have any handy and use a 1/2 cup canola oil.

who doesnt like coffee & chocolate?!

(This recipe was adapted from a recipe in the book, ‘Vegan Brunch’.

Best Banana Bread

I dont know about your kids, but my kids LOVE banana bread!  This is THE perfect way to use those bananas that are turning brown! The riper the bananas the sweeter the bread! If you are looking for a quick healthy take along snack, this bread is the one! If you are looking for something to bring to a get together, this bread is sure to please both kids and adults! (Want another reason to love it? It freezes well!)

This recipe took shape as I was looking for a way to make a really nice moist bread… I decided to try using silken tofu, which gave it the nice fluffy moist texture I was going for and also some protein! 🙂 And by adding a handful (or more) of chopped walnuts, you also get some of your omega-3’s for the day! Mmmmm! Can I please have some more?!

Banana Bread (makes one regular sized loaf)

Mix in a bowl:

  • 1 3/4 cup bread flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (set aside to fold in last)

Blend in food processor:

  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 5 Tbsp soymilk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • about 1/2 block firm or xtra firm silken tofu (*see note about silken tofu) … I usually use slightly more than 1/2 the block
  • 2/3 cup raw sugar
  • 1/4 cup canola oil

Preheat oven to 350 F. Pour wet ingredients into center of dry ingredients and stir until just mixed. You dont want to overmix nor do you want a pocket of flour hiding in there, so mix it until you feel good about it. (No whisking allowed!) Fold in the walnuts and pour the batter into a lightly oiled (or sprayed with non-stick spray) 9″ loaf pan. Bake 45-55 minutes until golden brown. Let it cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes and then place on wire rack to cool some more.

*I like to use the Mori-Nu Silken tofu. It is in a vacumm sealed box that can be kept at room temperature so it wont be found with the refrigerated tofu. They store it in the aisle with the asian foods at my local health food store. There are different kinds (soft, firm, extra firm) and for this bread I like either firm or xtra firm. In your average grocery store it will most likely be found in the “health” section.

I have never tried this recipe with all purpose flour, so give it a shot if you dare, though I strongly recommend following my recipe for the best results. I really like the texture and nutritional content of the bread flour (the kind I get is in bulk and is labeled “unbleached bread flour” and has a slightly brown speckled coloring to it). This is not pure whole wheat bread flour, which is much heavier & grainier. Regular bread flour should be available at all grocery stores.

Scrum-diddly-Concious Muffins

I love this recipe because its easy & there are lots of variations you can try (see bottom of page for variations)! These are healthy muffins that don’t taste TOO healthy (aka grainy) & they can easily be made even sweeter by adding some vegan chocolate chips!

For this batch, I used organic frozen blueberries! YUM!

Before baking...

SCRUM~DIDDLY~CONCIOUS VEGAN MUFFINS

  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour*
  • 1 1/4 cup unbleached white all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups fruit
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup chocolate chips (optional)
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)
  • 1/2 cup canola oil (or 1/4 cup canola & 1/4 cup applesauce)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cup almond or soy milk

Preheat oven to 350. Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. Stir in berries/nuts/chocolate chips into the dry mixture. Mix liquids (oil & soymilk) separately and whisk well. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until JUST mixed! (I cannot stress the “just mixed” enough! If mixed too much, the muffins will be spongy (as is the case with all muffins, not just vegan ones). If mixed properly, they will be light and fluffy!

Bake at 350 for 25 minutes (makes 12 muffins) OR bake an additional 7-10 minutes for 6 jumbo muffins. (I prefer to make jumbo muffins because we eat them faster and then I can make another kind!) Check with a toothpick or knife to see if they are done. Let them cool in the pan for about 5 minutes before moving them out of the tin to cool on a wire rack.

* If you do not have whole wheat pastry flour, or if you prefer, you can use all-purpose flour for the full amount

Sometimes I like to add 1 tbsp of ground flaxseed for a healthy boost of omega-3’s. If you decide to add flax, add an additional 2 -3 Tbsp water to the liquid mixture.

... and after!

VARIATIONS

  • You can switch out fruit & nut options! Try banana/chocolate chip, strawberry/walnut, or apple/pecan!
  • You can use almond milk instead of soymilk… I love almond milk in baked goods but soy milk contains more protein.
  • You can replace half of the oil with applesauce to slightly lower the fat content & to give it a little more moistness.

This is a great article by Jolinda Hackett (vegetarian food guide/about.com) about where you can find vegan chocolate (the “real stuff” – not carob) at your local grocery store! http://vegetarian.about.com/od/shoppingproducts/f/veganchocolate.htm