Tag Archives: breakfast

Vegan White Sausage Gravy & Biscuits

When the weather starts to get chilly, there is nothing like a big bowl of biscuits & gravy to warm you up from the inside out. I wish I could bring this to everyone affected by the early winter weather storms we’ve had this year. Hopefully you don’t think biscuits and gravy are just a “southern thing”… If you’ve never had a good meal of biscuits & gravy, you are missing out on one of the best comfort foods out there!

This is a meal packed with protein that both kids and adults can enjoy. It makes a great breakfast, lunch or dinner when served over these vegan buttermilk biscuits.

Vegan Sausage White Gravy (“Scarborough Fair style”)

(‘Scarborough Fair style’ contains parsley, sage, rosemary & thyme)

  • 1 tube Lightlife GimmeLean Soysage
  • 2-3 Tbsp olive oil (to saute soysage and onion)
  • 2 Tbsp soy margarine (like Earth Balance)
  • 1/2 – 3/4 large yellow or white onion, minced
  • 1/2 cup unbleached flour
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 3 cups soymilk, plus up to another cup (to thin gravy as it thickens)
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp each parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme

1) Brown the soysage in a big skillet over medium-high heat with a little olive oil by chopping it into bits with your spatula while it cooks. Once it is chopped into bits and browned,  move it into a separate bowl and set aside.

2) In the same skillet, saute the chopped onion in a bit of oil until translucent. Then add the soysage back in there with the onion and mix them together.

3) Add in the flour and soy margarine to the skillet, mixing well until everything is mixed together thoroughly. Turn heat down to medium.

4) Add in 3 cups of soymilk and stir. Add the herbs & spices. Continue cooking and stirring while it thickens, adding in the last cup of soymilk bit by bit as necessary, until desired thickness is achieved (though once the gravy is pretty hot and getting thick, turn down the heat down to simmer/warm).  Serve over top of these buttermilk biscuits.

Mmmmm…. gravy!

I can’t believe Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away! I know most of us are looking forward to making (or eating!) our Thanksgiving day meals. Perhaps you are making your tried and true recipes, or perhaps you are looking to try something new… either way, I hope we all remember that the point of this upcoming holiday is to bring us all together, to overlook faults & shortcomings and to simply enjoy each others company as we share time on this precious earth together. 🙂

In my opinion, a really good Thanksgiving meal is about enjoying a collection of many different dishes… maybe the turkey is a big part of that to you, but in my family, we celebrate our gratitude by acknowledging that for us, a sacrifice is not a necessary component  on the table. The way I see it, there are enough sacrifices that each of make in our daily lives… this is one day we shouldn’t have to sacrifice anything! It is a day to enjoy, appreciate and be grateful for all that is in existence… every plant, every animal… and every person! That being said, Thanksgiving recipes will be forthcoming!

Advertisements

Creamy Pumpkin Pancakes

I’m ready for the change of seasons.  I happily welcome Fall… and all its wonderful seasonal produce! Not to mention the color of the leaves… the crisp autumn air… the promise of gathering with family… even just the idea of an enticing aroma being emitted from a warm kitchen on a chilly day fills me with – for lack of better words – the spirit of the season!

Today is October 1… also known as World Vegetarian Day. Celebrate all walks of life by eating a meatless meal tonight, whatever it may be!  (Earn extra good karma points by having a vegan meal!)

If you haven’t noticed, my family likes breakfast foods a lot! Pancakes aren’t just considered a breakfast food in our home… sometimes we even eat them for dinner.  I usually throw some tempeh or soy-sage on the side for some added goodness. Pancakes are one of those meals that I can count on my kids more or less cleaning their plates, so anything I can mix into the batter to give some added nutrients is a plus.  (That reminds me – I recently read somewhere that recommended making pancakes using fresh carrot juice instead of milk.  I want to try that!)

October always puts me in the mood for cooking with pumpkin. Maybe because they are orange, or because of Halloween, or maybe cause I know we’ll be watching ‘It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown’  soon. And since we’re talking about it, I don’t blame Linus at all for believing in the Great Pumpkin.  After all, pumpkins are full of vitamins that help healthy vision, bone growth, reduce the risk of cancer & signs of aging, and offer protection against heart disease. They are loaded with vitamin A and antioxidants; they are also a good source of vitamins B, C, K, and E, and lots of minerals, including magnesium, potassium, and iron. According to The World’s Healthiest Foods, pumpkins were found to be so prized by Native Americans for their nutritional value that pumpkins were often buried with the dead to provide them with sustenance in the next world. So… what’s not to believe in? Come to think of it, maybe they should’ve named that movie “It IS the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown – and don’t you forget it!”

These pumpkin pancakes are so creamy they literally melt in your mouth.  I like to use almond milk and top the pancakes with chopped pecans. They are best cooked silver-dollar size… and eaten immediately, of coarse!

Creamy Pumpkin Pancakes

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3 Tbsp sugar or liquid sweetener
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • < 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 1/2 cup almond milk (or any non-dairy milk)
  • 1/2 cup or more pumpkin puree… I like to use 1/2 can of pumpkin (one can = about 2 cups)
  • 1 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1/4 cup water
  • pecans for topping (optional)

Mix dry ingredients together in large bowl. Mix wet (including pumpkin) in small bowl. Mix wet into dry. Cook silver dollar size pancakes on a hot griddle.  Top with chopped pecans & maple syrup! Devour!

It’s easy to turn a simple pumpkin pancake into a Halloween-inspired breakfast if so desired!

(To make a super easy pumpkin face, you could draw curved lines down the pumpkin from top to bottom using a chocolate chip.  I threw these “pumpkins” together in a real jiffy, hence the simple banana jack-o-lantern face… You could also easily make a face using chopped nuts or cut pieces of dried fruit – like apricots or mangos – or even small triangles of dark chocolate! Mmmm!)

If you are more of a waffle person, try these delicious pumpkin waffles!

Homemade Vegetarian Sausage

Check out our newest ‘Dinner and a Movie’ night, featuring the 1972 classic, ‘Charlotte’s Web’ and some homemade vegetarian sausage.  If you have never seen this great cartoon, what are you waiting for! It’s a family favorite over here…. And if you haven’t seen it since 1972, it’s time to rent it again!  (No offense to the newer version with Dakota Fanning and Julia Roberts, but you just can’t beat the animated classic!)

Click HERE to read all about it and to get the recipe!!

 

The Dr Seuss Omelet… aka Green Eggs and Ham

Okay, so… obviously, being vegan, this isn’t gonna be your typical green eggs and ham recipe!  Today,  March 2,  is Dr. Seuss’s birthday, so I wanted to make some kind of tribute to this wonderful story-teller who practically lives on a shelf in every home in the entire world.  I thought about trying to make this whole blog rhyme, but I thought that’d be a waste of time, so it’s fine… now lets dine!

I have made both of these recipes before from my Vegan Brunch cookbook and I can vouch that they are truly outstanding examples of vegan breakfast food.  (Hmmm… I’m not quite sure what the rule is on sharing other people’s recipes straight up… but I hope Isa Chandra Moskowitz can forgive me this once, since I’m always giving links to her awesome cookbooks! Thanks, Isa! 🙂 )

I should mention, the eggs here are not scrambled (nor are they like fried eggs in the actual story)… this is actually the closest thing to a vegan omelet I have ever eaten.  And what makes it green is pureeing spinach into the omelet batter (this was my personal addition to the recipe!). Voila! Green “eggs”! You could also make a green tofu scramble by using food coloring, but I’m not a big fan of that stuff. (Another idea to make your omelet “green” is by stuffing the inside of the omelet with greens, like spinach, broccoli, zucchini, asparagus… or anything else green!)

The “ham” in this case is homemade tempeh bacon. (Hey, faux bacon is the same as faux ham in my book.  At least in this kind of recipe.) You can easily buy Fakin’ Bacon or SmartBacon, both of which I enjoy… a lot… but you will find this tempeh bacon to be delicious and there is something very satisfying on making your own tempeh bacon!

(In regards to that, I have decided that I’d like to try to make my own homemade versions of these things more often instead of buying them.  Of coarse, I will still continue to use the store-bought stuff sometimes, just for the ease of doing so, but I’d definitely like to strive to do as much natural cooking as possible!  Some days it just seems there isn’t enough time and dinner sneaks up on me!  Though I must say, all the soy products I use are non-GMO.)

One more thing, if you don’t want a green omelet, just omit the spinach to the puree – you can always fold it into the inside of your omelet instead if you’d like!

Tofu Omelet

 Puree together the following:

  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 block silken tofu or soft tofu (I recommend Nasoya brand soft tofu for this. The vacuum packed mori-nu kind is not recommended for these)
  • 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • > 1 tsp indian black salt (aka – kala namak… it is actually dirty pink in color – this particular salt has a sulfuric taste that is similar to what you find in an egg- I had to order this online, though you may be able to find it in a health food store or indian grocery store)
  • 1/2 cup chickpea flour
  • 1 Tbsp arrowroot or cornstarch
  • spinach – as much as it takes to green up your omelet!  (1-2 cups, or two giant handfuls)
  • water if necessary – I added 1/2 cup
  • filling for omelet (whatever veggies & soy cheese that you please)

Chop the garlic and throw it into the food processor with the tofu, nutritional yeast, olive oil, turmeric, and salt.  Puree until smooth.  Add the chickpea flour and arrowroot and puree again for about 10 seconds until combined.  Make sure to scrape down the sides occasionally!  Pulse in the spinach until green color is as desired.  You may end up needing to add a bit more water to the batter because of the spinach addition.  (See tip** below.)

Preheat a LARGE non-stick skillet over med-high heat.  Lightly grease it and  pour 1/2 cup increments into the skillet.**  Spread the batter gently into about 6″ circles using the back of a spoon.

Let the batter cook about 3-5 minutes. The top of the omelet will become dry and matte looking when its ready to be flipped. If it starts to fall apart, give it a little more time. When its ready to be flipped, the underside will be speckled with light- dark brown spots.  Flip and cook about a minute on the other side.  Fill omelet with you choice of ingredients then fold it.  (This makes several omelets, so you can keep them warm on a plate covered with tinfoil as you make remaining omelets.)

**The right batter consistency depends on the tofu used. You can do a mini test omelet by pouring 2 Tbsp of batter in a pan.  If the batter spreads a bit on its own and firms up when cooking, you are good to go.  If it sits there like a mound, add up to 1/4 cup water to the batter and try again.

This is the tofu I use

Here we go….

There’s nothing traditional about a green omelet… this mushroom/onion/pepperjack omelet is served here with soysage and a homemade biscuit with jelly.

Tempeh Bacon

In a wide shallow bowl, mix the marinade and add the tempeh slices.  Let marinate at least an hour.  Preheat a large pan over medium heat. Pan fry the tempeh for 5-7 minutes, flipping occasionally and adding more marinade when you flip.  These will last several days in the fridge (if you don’t eat them all at once, that is!)

The marinade…

  • 3 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp liquid smoke
  • 1 Tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 3/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 crushed garlic cloves

And for cooking …

    • 8-12 oz tempeh, cut width-wise into 1/4″ slices
    • 1 Tbsp olive oil

Serve with toast and grits… while reading the book Green Eggs & Ham, if desired!

Old-Fashioned Strawberry Chocolate-Chip Walnut Scones

My kids are just like me – they can’t resist a good scone or muffin!  And it sure comes to our advantage that I enjoy baking so much… We’d be spending a fortune if all the baked goods that we consumed on a regular basis were store bought… hmmm…. yeah, I think maybe owning a bakery would be a good idea!  I am my own ideal customer 🙂

Old-Fashioned Strawberry Chocolate-Chip Walnut Scones

The first time I made these scones, I used a boxed egg replacer.  They turned out so perfect, that I have just stuck with this recipe ever since… I would love to try these sometime using a flax egg, but I just haven’t wanted to change a thing!

  • 1 “Egg” (I like to use Ener-G-Egg Replacer for this recipe)
  • 2 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup raw sugar
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup cold butter (aka Earth Balance)
  • 1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1 cup strawberries, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 cup soymilk
  • cinnamon/sugar mixture for sprinkling (optional but recommended)

1) In a small bowl, make 1 “egg” with egg replacer & set aside.

2) Preheat oven to 425 F.  Line a cookie sheet (or two) with parchment paper.

3) In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Cut the cold butter into the flour mixture using a fork.  You want it to be crumbly, like bread crumbs or slightly larger like pea sized crumbles.

4) Stir in the chocolate chips, walnuts and strawberries.

5)  Mix the soymilk with the egg and whisk well.  Pour into the flour mixture and mix by turning and kneading the dough until it is all mixed and there are no large clumps of flour. You may be tempted to use a tad more liquid but I assure you it won’t be necessary if you keep kneading the dough and flipping it.  (If you feel it absolutely necessary to add more liquid I urge you to only add an additional tablespoon where needed or your dough will end up sticky.)

6)  Gather the dough into a ball and flatten on a lightly-floured surface.  Pat dough down gently until its about < 1 ” high and cut into 8-10 pieces, obscure shapes or triangles, whatever pleases your eye.  Place the pieces on a cookie sheet and sprinkle with the cinnamon/sugar mixture.  I like to make mine in zig-zags 🙂

Getting the dough ready to flatten out and cut my shapes. I decided to go for 8 this time around...I think the cinnamon/sugar zig-zag makes them pretty.

8 mostly triangle-ish shapes

The cinnamon/sugar zig-zag makes them even yummier... is that possible?

7) Bake about 15 minutes until tops are just starting to turn golden.  (Watch the bottoms for they tend to brown faster than the tops.) Cool on a wire rack.  Devour.

Voila! Stack them as you please (or just eat them)!

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!