Tag Archives: cooking

Simple Soba with Kale

The past few days, with Christmas fast approaching, gift shopping to do & to plan, decorating (& cleaning) the house, upcoming birthdays to remember and just taking care of the every day needs of my two kids, I feel like I’ve barely had time do to anything… except eat leftovers!  Though after several days of eating the same (wonderful) things – I’m not one that likes to throw out delicious food – we finally couldn’t do it another night, so we “dragged ourselves” out to eat at our favorite restaurant in Athens.  I think most Athenians were feeling the same way because it was especially crowded for a Tuesday evening. (And now, guess what – I have more leftovers to eat!)

If the holiday season has already got you feeling short on time, this recipe is one I recently discovered that will feed not only your belly, but also your soul 🙂   Throwing together a few simple ingredients has never tasted so good.   Kale is fast becoming one of my favorite greens. I think it used to intimidate me  because I didn’t know how to cook it, but I’m finding that it is really easy to prepare. Kale is SO good for you and the health benefits are amazing.  This recipe is really easy & great… and  surprisingly, my kids couldn’t get enough of it… and I can’t complain about that!

Simple Soba with Kale

  • 1 large bunch  kale (any kind of kale will do, but I used lacinato)
  • 8-12 oz. soba noodles (my 8 oz. made plenty of noodles)
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 2 Tbsp tamari soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds (brown them lightly in a dry skillet)

Place a large pot of salted water to boil over high heat.

Wash and trim kale as needed.  Hold in bunch form and thinly slice remaining stems and leaves.  Place in large bowl of cold water and swish to remove any remaining grit.

Once water has come to a roiling boil, add soba pasta and cook 3 minutes less than the noodle packet instructs.  Add kale to the boiling pasta, pressing down with the back of a large spoon as kale likes to float. Continue cooking, uncovered, until kale and pasta are tender, about 5 minutes or so.

Drain pasta and kale then put back into the pot. In a small bowl, mix minced garlic (can be sautéed for a milder flavor), toasted sesame oil, tamari, and sesame seeds.  Pour over the kale and soba, toss to combine. Serve hot or at room temperature.

simple but sensational

Mac-N-Cheeseless

My kids could NOT get enough of this “mac-n-cheese” I made the other night!  I didn’t want to put too much hope that my kids were gonna think this was as yummy as me, so I gave them each small bowls, but that didn’t last long. My daughter kept asking “Can I have some more?!”  and she also told me “This is the best dinner ever!” three times during our meal! My son apparently felt the same way because he cleaned his plate! They are both picky eaters, so I knew I had to share this recipe! 

My husband thought the taste was similar to the boxed faux mac-n-cheese by Roads End Organics called (Diary Free) Mac-N-Chreese.  I dont know if you have ever had that, but it’s pretty good for vegan mac-n-cheese (though it honestly tastes nothing like Kraft mac-n-cheese, if that is what you are used to).  However this homemade macaroni was easy to make and it’s full of healthy ingredients!  I will definetly be whipping this together a lot more often rather than going for the boxed kind.

NOTE: I have had mac-n-cheese made with Vegan Gourmet cheddar cheese, and it was really great (in fact, my mom made some at Thanksgiving one year and everyone loved it –  non-vegans included) but I wanted to know I could make a decent mac that didn’t contain pre-made “cheese”.  I have also seen recipes for mac using Daiya cheddar vegan cheese, which I’m sure tastes similarly delicious.  If you are truly stuck on the Kraft brand MacN-Chz taste and want to make some vegan macaroni, I would try to make it vegan using the fake brands of cheese that are out there, such as Daiya or Vegan Gourmet… BUT… if you are going for the au natural route, this recipe is for you!!

Here is my son eating his mac-N-cheeseless with gusto!

MACARONI-N-o-CHEESE (aka Mac-N-Cheeseless)

  • 1  1/2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni noodles

Cook the noodles al dente according to directions (mine took about 7 min).  While noodles are cooking, blend together the sauce in a food processor. When noodles are done, drain them & put them back into the pot.  Add the sauce and cook on a low-med temp until the sauce thickens and cooks down a little (this takes about 5-7 min, depending).  Enjoy!

To make sauce, blend the following (this sauce will make 2 cups):

  • 1/4 cup raw cashews
  • 1 cup soymilk
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • < 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 cup xtra firm silken tofu – this is about 3/4 block silken tofu (though I think regular, drained & pressed, tofu would also work fine)
  • 1/2 Tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1 Tbsp (light yellow or white) mellow flavored miso
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • heavy dash of onion powder
  • < 1/2 tsp paprika
  • fresh ground black pepper

    Hmmm...is it just me, or is a pile of mac not easily photographed?!

    I haven’t tried to do so, but I don’t see any reason why this couldn’t also be baked in a casserole dish, if that is what you desire.  I would suggest following the directions and then instead of combining into a pot to cook the sauce down, simply combine/mix then pour into a casserole dish (covered?),  keeping an eye on it until it is bubbling & cooked down, then top with breadcrumbs and broil until browned on top. Let me know how it works out if you try it!

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!

Butternut Squash Soup

Lately time has been passing by so quickly.  I really can’t believe that Halloween is almost here and then we will be heading towards Thanksgiving… & then Christmas!! Well, I’m glad the holidays are coming up.  I am definitely the kind of person that actually enjoys being with family for the holidays.  In that sense, the holidays can’t come fast enough. Speaking of holiday gatherings, I made this soup at my family’s last Thanksgiving feast. Need I say, it was a huge hit.  I think this soup is perfect for holiday gatherings.  The kids loved it, it is easy and can be made rather quickly. If you have a emulsion blender (the stick-like blender you “stir” with, if you will) it is even faster to make this as you wont have to dirty up your food processor to purée.  One thing you surely won’t have to wash are the serving bowls – they will be licked clean!

~Butternut Squash Soup~

  • 1 large butternut squash
  • olive oil (2-3 Tbsp)
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 5 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 tsp dry ginger
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 cups soymilk
  • 2-3 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp mustard
  • 1/2 Tbsp salt
  • 1/4 cup arrowroot flour

First, cut the butternut squash in half, de-seed it & lay it flat side down on a baking sheet (I usually cover the baking sheet with tin foil and lightly oil it first).  Roast at 400 F for 50-60 minutes until soft. Once it is done, remove the squash from the oven and let it cool while you assemble the rest of the soup.

Saute the onion in 2-3 Tbsp oil in a large stockpot & set aside.  Add the broth to the stockpot.  (NOTE * If you do not have an emulsion blender, you will want to puree the sautéed onion first in the food processor with about 1-2 cups of broth.) Next, add all the other ingredients (except the squash) to the stockpot.

When the butternut squash is cool enough,  scoop the yummy out of the shell. If you are using a food processor, puree the squash before adding it to the stockpot.  If you are using an emulsion blender, just plop the butternut squash into the stockpot, & puree away.  Heat until ready to serve & ENJOY!

Mmmmm... I think I can hear it calling me!

This soup is gluten-free and can be made soy-free as well if you use a different non-dairy milk, such as almond milk. Honestly, I haven’t ever tried it that way, but I’m sure it would be just as delicious! Oh – I almost forgot to tell you – this soup freezes well… and yes, I suppose I have ‘a thing’ for orange soup! 🙂

Rita’s Vegan Chili

So… Did you know that October is Vegetarian Awareness Month? October 1st is actually World Vegetarian DAY – and of coarse, since we’re talking vegetarian (& since eggs, dairy & cheese is included in the vegetarian diet) there’s NO excuses to not do your part for the Earth by saying no to meat for ONE day! YOU CAN DO IT!!  Hopefully you will want to shoot for all 30 nights of meat-less meals (or more)!!

I have been wanting to share this recipe for a while, which is (like all of my recipes) 100% vegan.  I have had many rave reviews on my vegan chili and I hope I can add yours to my comments below!  Did I mention that my kids really love it too?!  They usually arent crazy about spicy stuff, but they make an exception for this mildly spicy delicious chili!

I like using Lightlife Smart Ground in my chili, but there are many different kinds of vegetarian crumbles you can find in the grocery store! Look in the freezer section if you can’t find it by the tofu. (Boca makes frozen crumbles but they may contain eggs if I recall correctly…  that is also typical of Morningstar Farms varieties.  (Unless you are vegetarian, look for the vegan symbol on the box.)  Get one or two boxes depending on how “meaty” you like your chili!

Mmmm! There's nothing like some good homemade chili!!

~Rita’s Vegan Chili~

First, crumble and brown the “meat” in a non-stick pan in a little olive oil. (I don’t even know if this step is really necessary, but for some reason, I always felt weird about just dumping it into the pot… but since there’s no chance of e-coli or anything, you could honestly probably just do that & save a step if you wanted!)

  • 2 packs of Lightlife smart ground (or “mock-crumbles” of choice)

Saute everything in a little olive oil and combine it with the “meat” in a large stockpot – or the biggest pot you have!

  • 1 large green pepper, chopped
  • 1 large red pepper, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

Stir in all other ingredients and cook until heated through!

  • 2 (15 oz) cans black beans, rinsed & drained
  • 2 (15 oz) cans red kidney beans, rinsed & drained
  • 1 (15 oz) can white kidney beans, rinsed & drained (or you bump it up to 3 cans of red kidney beans)
  • 1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
  • 1 (28 oz) can fire-roasted crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 Tbsp cumin
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1/2 Tbsp each oregano, basil
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 Tbsp raw sugar

Cover and simmer.  The longer it cooks together, the better the flavor!  Top with soy cheese & vegan sour cream if desired! Serve with crackers or cornbread (my personal fave)!  This chili also freezes great!

OPTIONAL: You can even add 1/2 cup – 3/4 cup each chopped carrot, celery, or corn to the mix to throw in some more veggies, but allow some extra cooking time to soften those carrots!

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.

Roasted Vegetable Stew

Cooler weather is fast approaching and so begins the start of the season’s wonderfully delicious fall harvest!  There is nothing more inviting than walking into your home on a chilly day and smelling an amazing soup simmering on your stove top!  Roasting vegetables is a great way to enjoy fresh seasonal produce in an easy way and at the same time make your house smell AMAZING!

This simple stew brings the flavors of sweet potato, butternut squash, carrots, and eggplant together into one giant bowl of nutritious delicious LOVE! Even though this recipe contains neither meat or potatoes, I decided it was more of a stew than a soup because it is thick, hearty & filling!  I personally think it pairs wonderfully with a grilled cheese sandwich! Mmmm!

Note: I realized after making this soup that I forgot to add the garlic!  Ideally, I would have like to have added 2-3 cloves in with the roasted vegetables, so I included that in the recipe below. This only took me an hour and 20 minutes from start to finish (including baking time)! I also used 4 japanese eggplants instead of 1 big eggplant – either works beautifully! (Japanese eggplants are long and skinny as opposed to the pear-shaped traditional eggplant.)

~ Roasted Vegetable Stew ~

  • 1 large onion, peeled and quartered
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled
  • 5-6 good-sized carrots, peeled (about 1 lb)
  • 1 butternut squash, halved and de-seeded
  • 1 eggplant, peeled
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tsp dry parsley (opt)
  • 2-3 Tbsp olive oil for roasting
  • fresh parsley or cilantro for garnish (opt)

Here are the veggies getting ready to be roasted!

Preheat oven to 425 F.  Cube all the vegetables (except the butternut squash) to roughly 1″ chunks. Put them all on a large baking sheet and drizzle generously with olive oil, & a little salt and pepper & mix around.  Place the butternut squash (flat sides down) on a separate oiled baking sheet (I like to put mine on a sheet of oiled tin foil).  Cook vegetables until soft, about 30-35 minutes but leave the butternut squash in the oven an extra 15 minutes.   (I put the veggies on the top rack and the squash on the bottom rack of the oven.) .  Once the butternut squash is done, set it aside to let it cool slightly.

After roasting... don't sneak too many bites! You'll need them for the stew!

Once the butternut squash is cool enough to handle, scrape it out of the shell and puree.  Pulse/puree the roasted vegetables with the broth in batches in your food processor.  Combine it all together in a large stock pot and add parsley, salt & pepper to taste. Continue to simmer until ready to serve and garnish with fresh herbs if desired. Enjoy!

This stew is great with bread... and it's even better with a grilled cheese on the side for dipping!

Thai Carrot Soup

Ahhh… I love Fall… and my family loves this amazing soup! This is one of my favorite recipes.  It is wonderful as a starter or as a meal on its own.  It is perfect for this time of year because its healthy ingredients (esp. the fresh ginger & garlic) help prepare our bodies for colder temperatures and flu season.

Another wonderful thing about this soup is that it freezes well – my husband always teases me about my obsession of freezing things, but I’m sure many of you other moms know how nice it is when you can defrost something easily that was originally homemade!

While preparing this soup today, my daughter saw the fresh ginger on the counter & said, "What IS that?! It's got FINGERS on it!"

~ Thai Carrot Soup ~

(Since these ingredients will get pulsed in the food processor, you can leave the ingredients chopped kinda chunky, though I would mince up the ginger & garlic to avoid a large chunk in your soup… Also, since it will be blended up, it isn’t necessary to peel the carrots unless you really want to!)

Bring to a boil & simmer until carrots are tender in a large pot (about 20 minutes):

  • 1 small-medium sized red onion, chopped
  • nice big handful of basil, chopped
  • nice big handful of cilantro, chopped
  • 8 chopped carrots (between 4  1/2 – 5 cups, sliced into 1/4″ rounds)
  • 3 Tbsp fresh ginger, chopped/minced (I think the fastest way to peel fresh ginger is to scrape off the peel with a spoon)
  • 3 Tbsp fresh garlic, chopped/minced
  • 5 cups vegetable broth

Process/pulse in small batches in food processor until smooth (or as chunky) as you prefer! This part can get a little messy! Return to pot and add the remaining ingredients.

  • juice of 2 limes (you must use fresh limes – do not use lime juice in a jar!)
  • 1 can regular coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce (I usually use a low-sodium kind)
  • 3 Tbsp brown sugar

Simmer on low-medium to let flavors blend together for several more minutes (don’t let it boil) until ready to serve!

(Though I always blend mine up, I’ve always wondered how this soup would be without doing that!  I think it would still be just as good! If you try it that way, let me know how it is!)

My 3 1/2 year old loves to eat this thai carrot soup!

THIS SOUP CONTAINS… (aka a little health lesson)

The health benefits of carrots include reduced cholesterol, prevention from heart attacks, warding off certain cancers, improving eyesight & more. Most of the benefits of carrots can be attributed to its beta carotene & fiber. It is also a good source of antioxidant agents as well. Carrots are rich in vitamins A, C, K & potassium!

Ginger does many amazing things for the body… It relieves morning & motion sickness, has anti inflammatory properties, is a natural painkiller, provides heartburn relief, helps upset stomachs and is a natural treatment for colds & flu.  It has also been found to help with menstrual cramps, migraines, allergies, coughs, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, toothaches & warts! Its newest findings show that it helps fight colon & ovarian cancer cells as well! I’d certainly call that a super-food!

After my 19 month old finished his, he tried to eat the rest of his sister’s bowl too!

Garlic is one of the most amazing things you can put in your body… It can be used to treat high cholesterol, parasites, respiratory problems, digestion & low energy… Studies suggest eating garlic regularly helps lower blood pressure, controls blood sugar, blood cholesterol & boosts the immune system.  It has also been found to reduce the risk of esophageal, stomach & colon cancer! WOW!

Rita’s Diner-Style Pancakes

I remember some of the first pancakes I ever made… they were either made from Bisquick or they were eggy non-uniform circles! I actually used to pretend I was a cook in a diner & I’d make a menu, asking my three sisters if they wanted to order anything… scrambled eggs, pancakes, toast… my diner was pretty simple! I probably wouldn’t have admitted it back then, but my pancakes probably weren’t worth the 50 cents I charged them (yes, I really did charge them!)! Luckily today I am a much better cook and Rita’s diner has come a long way! These pancakes are light, fluffy & delicious & you can whip them up in a jiffy!

Rita’s Diner Style Pancakes (makes 8-10  4″ pancakes)

  • 1 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder (aluminum free – I use Rumford)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • dash cinnamon (optional)
  • 1 1/4 cup soy or almond milk
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp canola oil
  • 2 Tbsp liquid sweetener (I like agave nectar or real maple syrup)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Mix dry ingredients in a bowl. Mix liquids separately and whisk well. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the liquids in the center. Stir or whisk gently to get out the big clumps. Try not to over-mix or you will get tough pancakes. Batter will be a little lumpy but that’s okay! I like to cook these on a high temperature on the griddle. Spray griddle with non-stick spray and pour batter into roughtly 4″ circles.  When they start to get bubbly peek underneath and if they are turning golden, flip them and cook another 1-2 minutes! Top with whatever pleases your palate! Serve & ENJOY!

Pumpkin Waffles

These waffles are SO delicious! This recipe is from the book ‘Vegan with a Vengeance’ by Isa Chandra Moskowitz… and this girl knows her way around a vegan kitchen. The original recipe (posted below) makes 24 regular waffles or 12-14 Belgian waffles. I halved the recipe this morning in my cuisinart Belgian waffle maker and got 7. I went ahead and put the halved recipe amounts in parenthesis for you on the right!

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour…………………………………..{1 1/4 cups}
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder………………………………………..{1 1/4 tsp)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda……………………………………………….{1/4 tsp)
  • 1/2 tsp salt……………………………………………………………{1/4 tsp)
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon………………………………………….{1 tsp}
  • 1 tsp ground ginger ……………………………………………… {1/2 tsp}
  • 1/2 tsp ground or freshly grated nutmeg………………….{1/4 tsp}
  • 1/4 tsp cloves………………………………………………………..{1/8 tsp}
  • 2 cups rice or soy milk……………………………………………{1 cup }
  • 1 (15-oz) can pureed pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix) { 1/2 can}
  • 1/3 cup oil……….{measure w/brown sugar below to = 1/3 cup total}
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar ……………………………………………….{ ” ” }
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract ………………………………………………..{1 tsp}

Preheat your waffle maker to manufacturer’s instructions. Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt & spices. In a separate bowl, vigorously whisk together the soy milk, pumpkin, oil, brown sugar & vanilla until well emulsified. Pour the wet ingredients in the dry and mix. Prepare waffles according to the manufacturer’s instructions. ENJOY with real maple syrup!!