Today's prompt is everything that I love about this time of year: SPICES!
I love warm spices. They always seem to find their way into my recipes in some form or another. I use cinnamon in almost everything. As I developed a taste for other spices, I discovered that I loved curries and stews with warm spices as well. I think savory applications of spices are my favorite simply because they offer unique depths of flavor. I love how the addition of spices to a simple chili or stew can create so much aromatic flavor.
One of my favorite foods in the fall and winter is sweet potato. Sweet potato is always known for its ability to carry sweet spices in desserts. I wanted to add spices to sweet potatoes this time in a more savory way. The blend that I created is nothing extraordinary, but it creates a wonderful combination of smoke, earthiness, and sweetness. The flavors are wonderful when mixed with the mellow sweetness of the potatoes. I added some bitter beet greens and sweet onions into the mixture as well. The simple blend of veggies is a wonderful meal on its own or can be served with a bread or grain of your choice.
I didn't create my own garam masala, but definitely do so if you're feeling up to the challenge. One of these days, I'd like to create my own spice blends. I've heard that fresh whole spices ground at home are the best. In addition to these spices tasting great, they also offer some wonderful medicinal properties (especially that turmeric). This mixture would also be a great breakfast to avoid any sugar crash during your day. Also, it would make a fabulous side dish for Thanksgiving. Just throwing that out there (it is next month, after all). Enjoy and feel good about it!
Spiced Sweet Potato and Greens
Yield: About 4 Servings
Free from: Gluten*, Soy, Nuts, Grains
Serve with bread or grain of choice, optional
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
Today's prompt is "favorite food", which, if you've ever seen my first year participating in Vegan MoFo, you would know is Japanese Food!
I love to cook Japanese inspired dishes that combine the American hodgepodge, often unorganized style of cooking with traditional ingredients and simple flavors. I love food that is prepared in a minimal way that emphasizes the individual ingredients. Although, sometimes I like to get complicated when I bake. 😅
This dish is a rendition of one of my favorite college breakfasts: an omelette on top of rice with some vegetable. I love eating out of bowls...the act of digging into my food is appealing some how. I bought eggs quite a lot in college since I was poor and a vegetarian still. Now, I usually substitute tofu for eggs and it suits me perfectly fine. I made my tofu a little more robust so I could fry it into an omelette shape. The result is nice savory croquette of "egg" like flavor and texture, although it is much drier than an omelette would be. It's still delicious!
I sauteed some white button mushrooms on the side for a meaty addition that offers protein and earthy flavor. My grandmother always made her omelettes a little sweet by adding a pinch of sugar and soy sauce to her eggs before she cooked them. I added a little mirin into the mushrooms, which create a wonderful sauce in the pan as they cook. For an interesting depth of flavor, spoon some of the sauce onto your rice for a finishing touch. It's a wonderful departure from your generic tofu scramble and toast. 🤓🍳🍞
Japanese Omelette with Sauteed Mushrooms
Where do I want to eat when I want someone else to cook for me?
The answer for this post didn't come easily at all, but if I had to pick...
I would absolutely have to pick The Tasty. Debuting earlier this year as a highly anticipated Philly vegan diner, The Tasty has gained momentum and is now traveling at warp speed into the realms of plant based deliciousness. They've expanded their already amazing offerings to specialty coffee drinks, baked goods, and seasonal specials. Everything on their menu echoes what one would find at a regular diner in and around the area: sandwiches, waffles, omelets, breakfast sandwiches, pancakes, salads and appetizers. It's immensely satisfying to be able to go eat brunch or breakfast somewhere when, as a vegan, eating those meals out is very difficult at mainstream restaurants.
I can only picture my sad breakfast options at other diners: fruit cups, dry toast, bagels, and maybe oatmeal if it's made without milk or butter. I guess you can technically count hash browns, but they are so often contaminated by shared cooking surfaces that they don't really appeal to me anymore. 😥
So when I visit The Tasty (pretty often), I usually go for veganized omelets or tofu scrambles of delicious veggies, non-dairy cheese and vegan meat subs. These aren't items I use at home very often, so I figure why not go all out if I'm not cooking? 😏
I snapped a photo for you of their spinach and soysauge omelet. It's absolutely to die for if you like savory spices, caramelized onions, and fresh spinach glued together by vegan mozzarella and pillowed by the most soft and fluffy egg-free omelet you've ever dreamed of. I think it's a mixture of chickpea flour and tofu judging by the texture, but I could be wrong! 😜
If the omelet isn't enough food, they pile home fries on the other half of the plate for good measure. They're crispy and soft at the same time, just the way I like them. They're also seasoned with something wonderful, so every bite you take is going to be a good one. There are many more amazing dishes on the menu that I've had before. Here are a few of them to tempt you: vegan mozzarella sticks, Caesar salad, breakfast burrito, PB&J french toast, biscuits and gravy, tater tots...you get the idea.
Heading over to Philly yet? I'll be back next week. 😉🐷
I had to give you some close ups...mmmm.
The second photo shows a huge glorious piece of caramelized onion. 😍👄
There are also lots of awesome things to look at inside and outside of The Tasty. Their sandwich board is always on point, which you can see from the first photo I featured. They also have a parade of dogs walking outside when it's nice out. You can't beat that.
Inside, there are whimsical decorations that seem to be things that you may find in either your grandmother's house or your friendly punk's house. There are also some cute handmade art pieces like this adorable clock.
The winking toast is everywhere, too. I like to think that they're congratulating me on my meal decision. 🍞😉
They also serve coffee in mismatched mugs that you might find in your own cupboard, which is a nice homey touch. The staff and owners are very friendly too, so make sure you say hi and ask for their recommendations! This place is just about as comfortable as going to a friend's place for brunch (or whatever meal you choose).
Next time you're in Philly, make sure to give The Tasty a try. Try not to order the whole menu at once. 😜
About two years ago, I made three different types of cake doughnuts to celebrate the fall season. Now, I'm back to make a new incarnation of one of them. I'm taking my pumpkin doughnut and throwing some fun Halloween flavors on top of it! Pumpkin and s'mores always seemed like two things that could be good together. I finally figured out how to successfully integrate them: pumpkin spice vegan marshmallows. 😮🎃
Once i found these precious gems, I knew I had to grab them. I was overcome by the pumpkin spice spell once more. The base recipe of these doughnuts is formulated from Erin McKenna's Babycakes Covers the Classics, which was one of the first all gluten-free vegan baking books I ever bought. It opened my eyes to what would ultimately become my fabulous vegan cake recipe, which I am very proud of! Its origins stemmed from how McKenna bakes at her bakeries. Although it isn't exactly the same, it's similar in the types of flours that I combine together.
I love these doughnuts because they are light and spongey but also moist. I used to be a huge fiend of cake doughnuts growing up. Unfortunately, I only ever had Dunkin's until I was older and discovered wonderful places like Voodoo Doughnut, Dottie's Donuts, The Cinnamon Snail, and Dunwell Doughnuts. Now, I am a doughnut explorer. I try all varieties as long as the flavor suits me. I'm also a fan of fritters. 😜
These doughnuts are safe for those who do not wish to worry about gluten or sugar overload while enjoying a delicious fall treat. The fixins on this doughnut do contain sugar, but the batter itself only calls for coconut sugar. You can also substitute an appropriate amount of stevia at your own risk. I recommend enjoying these with your friends/family/cat/dog and a nice hot cup of something. Enjoy and have a spooky weekend.
Pumpkin S'mores Doughnuts
Free from: Soy*, Gluten, Nuts*
You only need a small amount of ganache to drizzle onto the doughnuts so your marshallow and cookie crumbs will stick. If you have leftover, you can always use it to top ice cream later. 😏
Adjust the amount of milk/chocolate as needed for a thicker or thinner consistency. You can use a thick ganache to dip the doughnuts in for more of a glaze effect or drizzle a thinner ganache on top for a fun texture!
I've made tofu scramble countless times since becoming vegan and I've had the satisfaction of making an egg-like meal with delicious ingredients and scrumptious flavors. This, however, was the very first time since 2011 that I felt as if I was cooking actual eggs again. It was a very strange feeling.
That looks straight up like scrambled eggs, doesn't it? Weird.
Making the VeganEgg was a simple process today. I wanted to make the product as the instructions said to so that I could taste it as it was without fancy additions or techniques getting in the way. This was tough to do, though. I always want to tinker! ^_^
The VeganEgg is fairly simple to make. All you need is some cold water to mix with the provided powder and voila! The resulting mixture almost seems like pancake batter in consistency. In fact, once I poured the batter into my pan, I felt as if I was going to make a pancake.
Once I started to move the mixture around a bit, though, I noticed what all the fuss was about. EGGS!
The VeganEgg cooks just like regular eggs do for the most part. It slightly sticks to the sides of the pan, it becomes spongey and fluffy as it firms up, and starts to become fragrant. Boy, does this stuff smell like eggs.
What I loved most about the product is that it doesn't overcook easily like real eggs do. Whenever I would cook real eggs, I would always err on under cooking them (which in hindsight was a terrible idea!) so they would not become rubbery and hard. The VeganEgg takes a little longer to cook, maybe about 4-5 minutes on medium-low heat.
I added only about 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil in my pan to cook the VeganEgg with and it was perfect. I seasoned with salt and pepper only in order to keep the flavor integrity of the product. I felt the flavor was nice but not over-powering. It was also not overly-eggy, which I think would've been a turn off. I did experience illness several times after eating real eggs and ever since the smell has somewhat deterred me.
I love how the VeganEgg cooks. It "browns" a little to add texture to the scramble but does not greatly alter the color. My scramble was fluffy and light yet slightly drier than normal eggs. Although, i suppose this is a good thing since real eggs are full of cholesterol.
I liked the plain preparation of the VeganEggs, but I'm itching to do more with them. Since they retained their shape very well, I think they would be perfect for making omelettes. When I flipped the VeganEggs initially while cooking, they stayed in a very perfect circle until I broke them up intentionally. I would love nothing more than to stuff them with mushrooms, spinach and onions next time! Mmmm...
I had a fun time eating these VeganEggs with a nutritious vegan breakfast of a baked sweet potato, sauteed baby kale, and two slices of toast slathered with vegan butter and persimmon jam. Oh, I made some coffee too in my V60! ;)
Since I don't eat a full breakfast too often, I like to go a little nuts when I make it at home. I figured this was a special occasion, so why not?
In short, I absolutely recommend the VeganEgg. I haven't used it for any other purpose except scrambling, but that was enough to sell me! Don't be surprised to see new posts coming soon of baked goods, quiche, frittatas, omelettes, or anything else you could possibly do with eggs. I'm headed deep into vegan egg land and I don't expect to come back until I've explored every corner of it!
Happy breakfasting, everyone! If you have any suggestions as to what I should make next with the VeganEgg, let me know! I'm down for it all.
Happy New Year!
What is my resolution this year? Well, I certainly want to post more often. That was my resolution last year and I definitely succeeded! I'd like to try to top myself this year and try to post even more often. I also want to try to vary my recipes a little more. I did make a lot of cookies this year, by the way. I think it's time to move on. I mean, I'll still make cookies, but just not as many. ^_^'
I usually have a New Year's promise every year to be more healthy. I think I've over done this in the past, however. I tried to be "healthy" by eating more raw foods a couple years ago. I tried to be about 75% raw every day and mostly succeeded. However, my body was not happy. The way I ate was doing a number on my digestive system. I just couldn't handle the amount of raw foods I was eating. I was also eating far too much sugar.
Now that I know what types of foods agree with my body and how much of them to eat, being healthy is a breeze! I haven't felt better in a very long time. I eat what I want for the most part, not too much though, and I drink plenty of water and tea. I use vitamin supplements to keep my health as optimal at possible. I also try to cook simple dishes at home using seasonal ingredients. I try to keep my sugar intake down as much as possible.
That's all I do! I always shake my head when I think about all the time I wasted "dieting" and "cleansing". I felt worse when I wanted to feel better. I think that I've found a way to make things that I want while also making them more healthful and balanced . If you don't consume too much of anything, you won't try to compensate by adding or eliminating anything else! Makes sense, right?
The most flavorful part of these pancakes is the chocolate hazelnut butter drizzle for the top. This is where the bulk of fat and sugar comes from, so use this as much or as little as you'd like to control the sweetness.
I used Justin's chocolate hazelnut butter, which is an all-natural alternative to the very popular yet junky Nutella. Nutella is definitely just frosting that is posing as hazelnut butter. What a strange thing, right?
Well, fear not! If you have a craving for something delicious, creamy and full of chocolate flavor, whip up these pancakes for breakfast, lunch, dinner or dessert! They're small, so sharing is optional. ;)
Chocolate Hazelnut Pancakes
Yield: approx 6-2" round pancakes
Free of: Gluten, Refined Sugar*
Here's to a healthy and delicious 2016!
Today's post was originally supposed to be a cookie recipe.
Although, since I've been a little cookie-happy lately, I decided to mix it up and make my cookie into a doughnut. It's been awhile since I made doughnuts.
I love baked cake doughnuts. Don't get me wrong, I love (and eat) my fair share of fried yeast and cake doughnuts and I absolutely love it. However, I love to bake (if you couldn't tell!). Baking doughnuts gives them a toasty quality that I secretly miss when I eat a fried doughnut. The two ways of making doughnuts yield such vastly different eating experiences. What I wanted today was a doughnut that really wants to be a cookie, but can't quite figure it out. I think I succeeded.
These doughnuts are faintly pumpkin flavored but I did not put pumpkin pie spice in the batter. I wanted the granola that I sprinkled on top of the doughnuts to be the focus, and it most certainly is! Biting into one is a wonderful experience of soft and crunchy textures working together to delight you.
Did I sell them? ;)
Hearty Granola Doughnuts
Yield: about 5 doughnuts (I used a Wilton pan)
Free of: Gluten, Soy*, Refined Sugar*
*Depends on non-dairy milk and optional powdered sugar garnish
Adapted from: Sweet Freedom Bakery's Cinnamon Sugar Doughnut Recipe
Oven 350 F.
I've spent many a Thanksgiving wondering what to bake for a savory side to soak up excess mushroom gravy. I always make something different every year. I usually rotate between biscuits, cornbread, rolls, or mini croissants. This year I decided to make a bit of it all (well, maybe not including the croissant part! ^_^').
These muffins that I made are more like a biscuit-muffin hybrid with a little bit of scone mixed in... That makes sense, right?
They are savory with a buttery sweetness and a slight yet not over=powdering olive oil flavor. I added butternut squash for a light sweetness to round out the flavors. I also threw some dried and fresh sage into the batter for a festive herbaceous aroma. I rarely cook with sage so these were such a treat!
Serve them piping hot from the oven! They only take 15 minutes to cook and they would probably do wonderfully slathered in a savory jam or vegan butter. Go wild and enjoy your muffin-biscuit-scones...Bisconfits? I don't know.
Butternut & Sage Olive Oil Muffins
Yield: 24 muffins
Free from: Soy, Gluten, Refined Sugar
Preheat the oven to 400 F.
This recipe is a doozy!
I've attempted to recreate the most NOT VEGAN recipe I've ever eaten!
This casserole/dip/frittata/breakfast bake/brunch thing (I honestly don't know what to call it!) is a recipe from my great Aunt. I remember my mom asking for this recipe after Christmas day brunch at her house. I was young...too young to have even thought about being a vegetarian at the time.
The recipe is titled "Texas Fudge". It's literally everything that isn't vegan all mashed into a baking dish and baked until bubbly. It's absolutely artery-clogging but I remember it being sinfully delicious.
It's not something I would ever be able to stomach now. The thought of meat and cheese together alone grosses me out let alone adding eggs into the mix. I thought, though, what about a vegan version?
Scrambled tofu is one of my favorite things on this earth. Why not?!
This version of Texas Fudge is much healthier. It's not the healthiest thing for a vegan to eat, but it's not bad, relatively speaking. It's high in protein, low in fat and is all homemade. The only thing in this recipe I didn't make was the vegan cheese. Although, if you'd like to substitute the vegan cheese for your own homemade vegan cheese or cheese sauce, I'm sure it would be delicious!
I also added in some onion and spinach to give the dish flavor, color and nutrition! Feel free, again, to substitute the veggies or add more! I bet this would be amazing with a ton of vegetables added in. The combinations are endless. Use this recipe as a base for whatever you're feeling!
This is a great brunch dish for a get together with family and friends. You can serve it any way you want to. It's great with crackers, toast, on a plate, in ramekins, whatever you fancy!
Enjoy and don't feel bad! ^_^
Vegan Texas Fudge
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.