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.
For my Halloween post, I wanted to make something chocolate and fun, but still pretty simple. So often it is difficult to come across vegan chocolate candy to purchase. I love all the chocolate bars...they were my favorites growing up. I'm not a huge fan of fruit flavored candy with the exception of Skittles and Twizzlers. Luckily, they're both vegan (though not healthy at all) so I still get to indulge in them once in a while. Chocolate bars, at least conventional ones, are very much not vegan (with the exception of Peanut Chews, which are accidentally vegan).
I usually just end up buying a bar of Endangered Species dark chocolate as a treat sometimes. I'll break off a square here and there if I want something sweet, bitter and caffeinated. Sometimes, though, I like to have a little fun with my chocolate! It brings me back to my bakery days...
We used to make chocolates using various molds for holidays, cake garnishes, and special orders quite often. I decided, since I don't own one, to buy a chocolate mold for myself. This is my first investment: frog molds! Because, duh, CHOCOLATE FROGS!
I've already posted a recipe for rock cakes this year. I decided to take my Harry Potter inspiration to this post with vegan chocolate frogs. I couldn't get these frogs to move on their own, unfortunately (but not from lack of trying). They are, however, delicious. The best part about them is that they are whatever chocolate you would like them to be. You can choose your own percentage of dark chocolate, make chocolate from scratch, buy vegan milk chocolate, or even vegan white chocolate! I decided to use vegan chocolate chips for mine since they were readily available. There are a ton of raw chocolate recipes out there, though. Check them out and experiment! The mold will always be there waiting for you.
I made two flavors of frogs here. The first one is stuffed with vanilla coconut butter. I wanted to try my hand at making homemade coconut butter finally. I saw a post from Chocolate Covered Katie forever ago about how to do this and I've wanted to ever since! The Minimalist Baker also has a great tutorial. But, in a nutshell, you're basically pulverizing dried coconut until it becomes a paste (nut butter-like) consistency. It takes a lot of patience, but it's so worth it! Coconut butter comes with a high price tag in stores otherwise. This is a great economical option if you're going to use it for a recipe especially.
The other frogs are pumpkin spice flavored. No, there's no actual pumpkin in them. However, there are pumpkin seeds and pumpkin pie spices. They're deliciously festive for Halloween! The pumpkin seeds are also a good nut-free alternative for those who are allergic. There are instructions provided here for you, but feel free to take the idea and run with it! Chocolates are easy to make and even easier to customize. I recommend storing these in the freezer long term. If you want one, take it out and let it come to room temp before enjoying! If you will be consuming these quickly, keep them in the fridge.
Have a spooky day, everyone!
Vegan Chocolate Frogs
Yield: Makes about 12 frogs depending on the size mold you use
Free from: Nuts, Gluten, Soy*
*Use soy-free chocolate for this option
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.
Today's post doesn't require much of an explanation. I love wet walnuts. I first encountered them at Dairy Queen (I worked there in high school). A lot of our customers loved them and I never understood why since they looked a little unappetizing. I tried the topping at one point and thought it tasted okay, but not fabulous.
Later in life, I learned that I loved nuts in ice cream A LOT. One of my favorite flavors to this day is butter pecan. I also love rocky road, moose tracks, etc. The wet walnuts I made for this simple (yet boozy) sundae are infused with the tart bite of hard apple cider, sweet maple syrup, and apple pie spices. There isn't anything more "fall" than the smell of apple pie on your ice cream.
The ice cream I made is a simple vanilla bean flavor (with bourbon, though). Again, I've always loved simple ice cream flavors. Vanilla is as basic as you can get with ice cream, but it's the base for EVERY FLAVOR. Any and all flavors of ice cream need to have vanilla extract in them (if they're sweet, of course). The vanilla gives the ice cream the essence that it needs to be rich and creamy and fragrant. I loved the fresh vanilla bean taste in this recipe. Using vanilla paste will give you a similar effect. '
The combination of the bourbon and cider is also very "fall". There's a great cocktail that calls for bourbon and apple cider. Not sure if it has a name, actually... Either way, it's pretty delicious hot or iced.
The wet walnuts I made were chilled when I served them over the ice cream. If you're not opposed to your ice cream melting a bit, heat the walnuts up slightly for a gooey treat! I also included a link below to a recipe for raw apple pie filling, which would be a wonderful addition to this sundae. There's already a delicious apple bite from the walnuts, but why not accentuate it?! Enjoy and don't sundae and drive. ;)
Boozy Apple Pie Sundae
Yield: about 6 servings
Free from: Soy*, Gluten
*Use appropriate ingredients for this option
Bourbon Vanilla Ice Cream
Hard Cider Wet Walnuts
Toppings of choice (here's my raw apple pie filling)
So, I don't always think about zombies taking over the world...
But, when I do, I think about what I would eat (like, as a human still. otherwise, brains? faces?).
As a vegan, you're pretty limited out in the wild. Unless you're on a tropical island that has coconut and banana trees, you're stuck foraging in the woods for mushrooms and plants to eat. And, unless you're very knowledgeable, picking out which wild mushrooms to eat is a risky task. Then again, you could be zombie chow at any moment, so go ahead and eat that mushroom over there. What's the worst thing that can happen, right?
Other than toughing it in the wild, we vegans can subsist on found pantry foods while looting grocery stores and empty (hopefully) houses. I like to imagine myself busting into someone's pantry who has since either passed, turned, or just wandered away from home in search of chocolate pudding. Little did they know, they had everything they needed right there!
I took inspiration for today's prompt from The Walking Dead. I'm a long time watcher of the show and I've read a bit of the comic, but not enough to call myself an expert by any means. I like the concept, most of the characters, and the dramatic moments that make me cringe with fear. Last season's premiere was absolutely brutal.
I've always had a dislike for Carl. Don't ask me why. The kid just annoys me. I did, however, like the scene in the TV show where he's pigging out on chocolate pudding out of a can that looks like it's probably over 10 years old. He's sitting on a roof with one shoe on while a zombie is trying to nom him from inside the house. This entire scene made me laugh because it's the only instance that Carl seemed relatable to me. I could see myself in his shoe at that moment. Sometimes you have to get away from it all and have some "me" time.
Also, as I thought about it, I realized chocolate pudding would be the ultimate survival food if made from shelf stable ingredients. You could make it easily with a few ingredients that are fairly common, have a long shelf life, and only require minimal cooking (if you absolutely want it to be authentic). This is also a great meal if you add protein powder like I did. If you're gonna run from zombies, you better be well fueled.
Alternatively, you could mix all the ingredients together with the shelf stable milk and just drink it like a protein shake. It's liquid pudding. If there's anything that separates us from the zombies its our ability to enjoy things like liquid pudding, everyone.
On to the good stuff...☠🍫
Vegan Instant Chocolate Pudding Mix
(If you can find them! Mwahahaha)
Yield: About 2 servings
Free from: Soy*, Gluten, Nuts*
*Use appropriate ingredients for these variations
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.
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.