It's been awhile, I know...
It's been forever it seems since my last post (Halloween, anyone?!). I have been finding it difficult to juggle photography with my work schedule since it now gets dark around 4:30 PM. Not the best situation for light quality! I haven't stopped cooking or baking, though. I've already made many batches of Christmas cookies for various events. It's great that I get to try recipes out beforehand. There are many more I'm going to try before the month is out too! This recipe that I'm sharing with you today is a riff on my staple snickerdoodle recipe.
I love snickerdoodles. They're my favorite cookie. I've said this many times. So, you can imagine, i am quite particular with their taste. I love a simple coating of cinnamon and sugar. Nothing beats it. Nothing, except, maybe chai snickerdoodles? Chocolate snickerdoodles? MULLED CIDER SNICKERDOODLES?!
Nevermind. I'm not that particular. As long as they taste wonderful. And let me tell you: these "doods" taste wonderful. That is now their official nickname.
These cookies have only a couple, albeit important modifications. Instead of the original recipe's addition of non-dairy milk to the dough, I added two tablespoons of mulled (spiced) apple cider. You can buy spiced cider at the store now, which is a nice time saver. If you don't want to purchase it, you can make it at home much like a cup of tea. I put some whole mulling spices in a tea ball and steeped them in a mug of hot cider until the liquid cooled. Since you only need two tablespoons (if that), you can drink the rest. You deserve it.
As for the coating of the cookies, I added the same spices that I used for the cider. My blend included anise, cloves, cinnamon, and allspice. A wonderful and aromatic combo that makes the whole kitchen smell like the holidays.
That's really all you need to do to these to change them from their base form to totally festive AF. The texture can change quickly if you add too much liquid to the dough, however. Be careful to evaluate the dough for its moisture content before adding the second tablespoon of cider at the end. You may not need it!
Mulled Cider Snickerdoodles
Oven set to 375 F.
Five Spice Pot Pie
Yield: 1 pie, about 5 servings
Free from: Gluten*, Nuts
*Use appropriate ingredients
Preheat oven 350 F.
This is my response to the "unconventional grains" prompt! I love to bake with different grain flours often since most of my baking is gluten-free. I've experimented with all types of grain flours and some grain-free as well. I find that there is no "one" magical flour that can be substituted for wheat flour in a baking recipe. Gluten-free flours must be combined in order to achieve an optimal texture, fat content and taste for different applications. I find that my favorite "all purpose" gluten-free flour blend is good old Bob's Red Mill.
I like to combine this all purpose blend with other grain flours for awesome texture. This flour is also good as a 1 to 1 substitute for my purposes, I find. I make roux with it, dust surfaces, and use it alone for simple baked goods like biscuits. I've never found another flour blend that does it quite like this one for me. I also really love the flavor, which some people might not be partial to because it contains chickpea flour. Some people say it makes whatever you cook taste like falafel. I'm not in this camp but it's all a matter of taste, I suppose.
This recipe came to me one day when I was using leftover bananas to make banana bread. The original version was made with quinoa flour instead of buckwheat. Upon my second time using this recipe, I found that I actually like the buckwheat flour much more! The banana bread is wonderfully moist, sticks together, is dense but rises nicely, and has a depth of flavor that transcends just "banana and sugar". I also love the nutrition that the buckwheat flour brings to this recipe! It's got a good amount of protein and fiber! The only downside that I can possibly see with this recipe is its darker color. You can't really see the banana in there unless you look closely. I don't mind this too much. It's dang tasty and that's all I really care about.
I took the liberty of sprinkling some granola and trail mix on top of my banana bread. You can do this if you want some more texture and crunch as well. Alternatively, whip up some streusel and sprinkle that on top! How can that be bad?
Feel free to spread some of your favorite nut or seed butter on top of a slice of this for a hearty breakfast. Since there's no added oils or fats in this bread, you can control the type and amount of fats you add to it for a well-rounded meal!
Buckwheat Banana Bread (Oil Free)
Yield: 1 loaf (9x5 pan)
Free from: Gluten, Soy*, Oil*
Preheat oven to 350 F.
I think as vegans, we can all relate to Lisa Simpson on one level or another. Whether you're at work, with friends or family, or at a wedding (ugh), you can bet that you will be in the dietary minority (unless you're only around fellow vegans all the time, which, congrats). I get strange looks all the time from people when I politely decline their food and start to drink green juice instead. I've also gotten positive reactions from chefs willing to accommodate me to acquaintances asking insightful questions pertaining to the reasons why I went vegan, etc. Navigating social landscapes is definitely something that can be challenging but also rewarding as someone who lives this unique lifestyle.
The most challenging dish to sell to people who aren't keen on vegan (or just "healthy" food in general) is plain old salad. Hence this...
Yep. I feel her pain. (#same)
The funny thing about salad is, though, it can be just as easily mind-blowing as it can be boring and unappetizing. This rule applies to every food, though, in my humble opinion. Omnivores throw fried meat, potatoes and tons of cheese on their salads and say it makes them "tasty", so why can't vegans do their equivalent of the same?
I love salads. They're great all year round. I love that they can consist of cooked and raw vegetables alike. I also like to mix pickled and fermented vegetables in mine to add flavor, texture and nutrition. A great, quick and easy lunch is some salad greens, chopped seasonal vegetables and some make-ahead protein to throw on top. When I'm feeling lazy, I'll throw beans on top that are barely seasoned. However, for VeganMofo, I decided to do something a little more involved and special...
I made some oven-fried cornmeal crusted tofu. Not only did I make delicious and crispy tofu, but I made a Japanese bulldog sauce to go on top of it. What's bulldog sauce, you ask? Well, it's basically a sweet and sticky BBQ sauce that's usually served with tonkatsu (or fried pork cutlets). This is a classic and homey Japanese meal that I enjoyed as a young kid. I definitely recommend making a vegan version of the cutlets if you can (Here are a few ideas from some fellow bloggers: Vegan Ronin | Lazy Cat Kitchen). They're coated in panko breadcrumbs and are wonderfully addictive.
The sauce itself is interesting because it has fruit purees in it that lend their sweetness. Along with the fruit, bulldog sauce has tomato paste in it as well as carrot. Instead of trying to automatically recreate the sauce itself, I decided to create my own vegan version with household ingredients that most people have already or can find easily at the store. I added a kick to mine by throwing some Frank's Red Hot sauce in there! You can definitely sub sriracha and that would be an excellent idea. The resulting sauce is slightly spicy, tangy, thick with a depth of sweetness from molasses and mirin.
If you can't find mirin, you can always sub maple syrup or your favorite liquid sweetener. This sauce goes very well with the tofu and works as a dressing for the salad on its own. You can also dress your veggies with your favorite dressing if you'd like. I don't care for a lot of dressing so I left mine alone with the exception of a splash of apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper!
The only thing I will tell you is this: if you're trying to impress someone with tofu, salad and your sauce making skills, use this recipe! There's no way anyone can deny that eating a vegan salad is a good time if you serve them this. (If they don't like it, then more for you!) Go out there and make some friends! 👯🥗
Bulldog BBQ Tofu Salad
Yield: About 5 Servings
Free from: Nuts, Gluten
Preheat oven 400 F.
So today's prompt is asking how I get my protein. I would imagine my question to this ever present question from non-vegans would be to show them a bit of a double whamey: a protein-packed breakfast.
It's very difficult to come by vegan breakfast foods that are prepared in this country. It's ironic, too, because breakfast foods can so easily be made vegan. The foods that are used to make a nutritious vegan breakfast are also pretty cost effective on the whole. These two items that I'm featuring today are both very economical and keep for the entire week. The protein oatmeal squares are also a much cheaper substitute for store bought energy or meal replacement bars. I'm guilty of buying those to keep on hand in case I'm stuck on the go without food for a while (especially after I work out). However, if you make these, they certainly can save you some money. They're also more eco-friendly!
These two recipes are very forgiving and are also great canvases for your own flavors. I chose chocolate because I had a tub of chocolate Sun Warrior protein on hand. Feel free to use your favorite flavor and brand of protein powder for these. Alternatively, you can also use natural sources of protein like flax and hemp seeds or nuts ground into a flour,
The nice cream is great stored in the freezer but will most likely need to be warmed a bit before scooping since it hardens into a solid mass depending how cold your freezer is set. You can either leave it thaw at room temperature or nuke it in the microwave if you aren't opposed. I like to top mine with nuts and seeds for more added protein! It makes a great option if you don't feel like whipping up a smoothie in the morning (or want to wake your housemates because you get up at 4:30 AM for work like I do).
Combine these two treats for a chocolate-filled yet also healthy and filling breakfast! I'm definitely going to come up with another post with flavor variations on these. The possibilities don't end!
Chocolate Protein Nice Cream
Yield: approximately 7 servings
Free from: gluten, nuts*, soy*
*Use appropriate ingredients for these options
Blend all those things above in a food processor or high speed blender until smooth! Images below. ✌️
Double Chocolate Oatmeal Protein Squares
Yield: 8 Squares (9x5 loaf pan)
Free from: Gluten
Adapted from: Chocolate Covered Katie's Wonderful Baked Oatmeal
Preheat oven 340 F.
I know, I know...today is supposed to be "junk food forever" themed. Nachos are a classic party food that can be as junky as you want. Having nachos drowned in dairy cheese, sour cream and other fattening ingredients is junk, for sure. I decided to take today's prompt and "de-junk" nachos so that I could eat them and not feel absolutely terrible afterwards. If they're too "healthy" for you, feel free to either
A. Fry those tortillas OR
B. Buy store bought chips and vegan refried beans
I won't judge you! There are days that I do just those things. But, that's the beauty of making nachos at home: you can choose your own ingredients. I made these as healthy as I could by baking the tortillas (sprouted ones, thanks to Food for Life) in the oven with no oil until they were crunchy and delicious.
There's good fats in this meal from the raw cashews in the "queso" sauce. I used a tried and true recipe of my own and I will link to one in the recipe below. But, feel free to use your own preferred vegan cheese sauce recipe. If you are unable to consume nuts, I recommend checking out these recipes out for your sauce: Cashewless Queso by The Minimalist Baker and Nut-free Nacho Cheese Sauce by Vegan Richa. If you're going for a store-bought option, you can always buy a pack of Daiya or So Delicious shreds and melt them on top of your chips! The real star of these nachos are the black beans, anyway...
Whatever you choose to do with these nachos, just enjoy them with all the delicious toppings you can! Nachos aren't nachos if they aren't loaded with fresh veggies. I topped mine with chopped avocado, tomato, green and red onion and roasted spiced black beans. The queso just holds everything on the chips from the plate to your face! Feel free to use whatever type of bean you like. I wouldn't mind trying azuki beans, myself....
Sprouted Spiced Black Bean Nachos
Yield: 1 Serving
Free from: Soy**, Gluten*
*Use all corn tortillas for Gluten-free option
**Use appropriate cheese recipe for soy-free or store bought
Spiced Black Beans
Preheat oven 300 F.
Rock cakes immediately remind me of Rubeus Hagrid, the lovable half giant from Harry Potter. When I looked for a rock cake recipe ages ago, I was shocked to see how simple they were to make. As a child, I always pictured rock cakes as something unappealing to eat that people always made anyway (much like fruitcake). However, when I realized that rock cakes were simply variations of a scone or biscuit, I became intrigued and determined to bake some. I love me some scones and biscuits especially with tea! ☕️😋
My sister and I recently decided to binge the Harry Potter films. We both grew up reading the books and cherish the stories dearly as if they were factual. She recently got her hands on a cookbook inspired by recipes in the books. I'm impressed that someone took the time to properly research and compile the foods in all 7 volumes of the series. That's a lot of reading to do.
Of course, most of the recipes are not vegan. However, the more popular and exciting treats are easily made vegan with a few adjustments. I started off with rock cakes because I had already wanted to make them anyway and they're quick and easy to whip up in the morning to have with tea or coffee! Luckily, my first batch was a success. I made them completely gluten, soy and nut free. They are a great canvas for all kinds of flavors and variations, though. Baked goods that offer flexibility in terms of flavor are my favorite. Because, let's face it, who wants the same boring rock cake over and over? I know I don't. 😏
The rock cakes I made are a little more rich and earthy than the ones in sample recipes I found. The cakes seem to feature all different types of dried fruits, spices and nuts. I wanted to keep mine simple yet still flavorful...and, of course, rock-like!
I got a great idea to use carob powder from Miss Kitchen Witch, who is a fabulous food blogger who made Harry Potter themed recipes for Vegan MoFo a few years ago. I posted that year too and was much more interested in her recipes than mine! I loved her theme and immediately thought mine was boring. Now, years later, I'm also going to give it a shot while altering the recipe a bit.
I flavored my dough with carob and chopped dates. I love the caramel-like flavor of dates and their richness that seems to be missing in many other dried fruits. They also go very well with the smokey quality of coconut sugar, which I use frequently. I added a little bite of acid to brighten the cakes by soaking the dates in orange juice, which is a trick I learned during my bakery days while making carrot cakes. Soak the raisins in warm water infused with different extracts and your cakes will bake up moist and flavorful! 😍 The same effect can be achieved with any kind of juice as your soaking liquid too.
The resulting rock cake here is very rock-like in appearance but soft and crumbly in texture with a crunchy sugar top. They aren't overly sweet, so they pair nicely with any coffee or black tea that is slightly bitter. If you want to make these cakes more decadent, you can add in some chocolate chips or a little more fruit to the dough. They cook up quickly, too, so you can enjoy them day of with minimal wait time! Keep an eye out and I may just post another flavor sometime soon (maybe for the holidays?!). 😉
It's good to be back, folks. Enjoy the rocks!
Date Carob Rock Cakes
Preheat oven 350 F
This cookie recipe is one from my BHG archives. My mom and I always used their "New Cookbook" (published in the early 90's I believe) for our Christmas cookie recipes back in the day. This cookbook has any type of cookie you could possibly desire with easy and simple to follow recipes. Making their baking recipes into vegan versions isn't so difficult anymore, especially if you use aquafaba. 😋
These cookies are as low maintenance as you can get: one bowl, use your mixer for easy clean up and easy mixing, and no rolling required! As cute as cutout cookies are, they are time consuming and temperamental. This dough comes together quickly with the help of a mixer and paddle attachment, if you have one. Once it's done, chill it for about 20 minutes while you heat up your oven and then use a mini ice cream scoop or teaspoon to portion out cookie drops.
The original recipe (linked at the beginning of the ingredient section) calls for banana butter icing. Instead of going through the trouble of making icing, I decided to make these cookies interesting by transforming them into "chunky monkey" cookies. There are chocolate chips and walnut pieces inside each little cookie, which offer crunch and richness. If you prefer to keep these cookies more simple, you can omit the chocolate and nuts.
Also, these are great to make for a last minute cookie swap or holiday get together if you have a spare banana lying around like I usually do. 😅 Enjoy and grab one for yourself. 💝
Yield: About 24 Cookies
Adapted from: Better Homes and Gardens Banana Drop Cookies
Holiday baking is something that I normally go overboard on...but I feel so behind today! I know it's only the Monday after Thanksgiving, but I feel like Christmas is already here. Lights and decorations are going up all around me and all I have to show are two dish towels with reindeer on them. 😳
#firstworldrpoblems, I guess...
I decided to bake some quick, easy, delicious and somewhat healthy cookies for this post. I'm a huge fan of Chocolate Covered Katie, one of the best dessert blogs I've ever encountered. She makes easy recipes that have accessible ingredients, delicious crave-able flavors, and offers all the substitutions you never knew you needed. Her blog was one of the first ones I read when I started to experiment with vegan baking. I had no idea what stevia was and had no clue that you could bake a cake in the microwave. She showed me the truth and I am bestowing my knowledge unto you now.
Behold! My recreation of a recipe from CCK's cookbook (which you should probably buy):
These pixie cookies are delicate and fluffy drops of cake-like chocolate with a hint of cool peppermint and rolled in powdered sugar to make them look like they've been on a romp in the snow. ❄️☃ These take only 12-15 minutes to bake and they are small, so if you are feeding a crowd of up to 9 people, you're perfectly fine without doubling the recipe. Also, if you have peppermint extract (or peppermint stevia at your own risk), you can whip these cookies up any time because they only use staple pantry ingredients. My rendition has a few minor changes so make sure you check the ingredients in case you need to plan ahead. Otherwise, whip up a batch now and join me in cookie heaven! 🍪🍫😇💖
Mint Chocolate Pixie Cookies
Adapted from Chocolate-Covered Katie
Free from: Gluten, Refined Sugar, Nuts, Soy*
Yield: About 18-24 cookies
I'll spare you the anecdotes and get right to the Thanksgiving food porn. I've listed everything I made for my first Thanksgiving dinner here. I will be seeing my immediate family this weekend where a second feast will take place. I'm blessed to have amazing family and friends who allow my boyfriend and I to bring our own food. I'm also grateful for my mom and dad who make sure that all our sides are vegan so that I can eat everything I want!
I wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving and a festive weekend. I hope for those that work, you take a moment for yourself in any way you can. You deserve it.
Now, feast your eyes...😳😍🍂🍃🦃🍁🌳💝
Purple Sweet Potato Pie Bars
Mini Pumpkin Pies
Vegan Green Bean Casserole
No recipe for this...I literally threw it together. But, if you want a good homemade recipe recommendation, see The Minimalist Baker. We made this version last year and it was delicious. This year, i just approximated everything. It's a very forgiving dish. Also, we used an entire container of fried onions because it's time to feast.
Rustic Mashed Red Bliss Potatoes
Again, no real recipe. I can tell you roughly how I did this:
This is my very first food blog! I post revised conventional recipes of foods that I hold near and dear to my heart. My cooking here is all gluten-free and cruelty-free, but full of flavor and comfort.