For my 30th birthday, which happens to be today, I had a bunch of fun stuff planned. The biggest thing was my run last weekend, in which I lived up to my blog’s name, and ran in a banana suit in the Providence (RI) Monster Dash 5k. I made a PR by about 2 minutes and it was soooo fun running in this costume:
It was a big hit with kids, especially. When I ran through the large crowd of people cheering us on, so many kids along the way would exclaim “there goes the banana!” And many of them put their little hands out to catch a high five from me as I ran past them…it was so cute. I waved to several of them, and even had a trifecta of 3 little kids put their hands out all at once that made me feel like I was a celebrity working the crowd. Haha. So that was cool, and I also plan to use this banana suit for more things for this blog, to make it funnier. You’ll see what is in store for it soon!
This morning, I made birthday cake waffles. I had some left over chocolate sauce from my candy apples and some strawberry syrup left from the strawberry frosted donut recipe that I put on top. Yum.
BIRTHDAY Cake Vegan Waffles
- 1 cup Immaculate yellow cake mix (found in my local Target in the baking section)
- 1 cup vegan bisquick mix (read labels)
- 1-2 scoops vanilla vegan protein powder (optional)
- 2 tbsp melted Earth Balance
- 1 tbsp applesauce
- 1 ½ cup vanilla almond milk
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp almond extract
- ¼ cup vegan non-pareille sprinkles (read label, I was able to find one without the confectioner’s glaze that’s in most sprinkles at my regular local grocery store, and instead has carnauba wax.
Mix all ingredients together and follow waffle iron’s directions to cook them. Makes about 5 waffles depending on your maker.
Tonight my family is making me a vegan vanilla cake, with raspberry filling and chocolate buttercream. I am making vegan crockpot buffalo ranch lasagna from this recipe for my dinner. I will share pictures later in a new post, maybe.
Also, I got three new cookbooks for my birthday present:
So far I have looked in Chloe’s book the most, and I was seriously drooling after that. I will be cooking out of these for awhile in the next few weeks I think, so get ready for me sharing some reviews and pictures! :)
Since Vegan MoFo ended, and then I wrapped up my first term at school, I’ve just needed a bit of a break from blogging. I’ll be back more regularly soon, I promise!
My birthday is next Wednesday! I’m turning 30! Aaaaaaah! In honor of the event, tomorrow I am running a 5k, and I hope to share some pictures of that, because they will contain a special (and hilarious) surprise for those who don’t know what I’m up to yet.
I also have a special recipe I created for my birthday to share, as well!
In the meantime, here is a picture of mostly raw candy apples I made from a recipe in Vegan Health and Fitness Magazine!
I hope you are all enjoying your fall!
Growing up as a kid in New England, I had a soft spot for Dunkin Donuts’ strawberry frosted donuts. Since they are not vegan, I can no longer eat them. But when I started experimenting with making frostings out of fruit-based syrups, I knew making something similar would be possible.
These donuts are quite cake-like, almost with a spongy texture. I still like them though. The frosting, however is wonderful. My mom said it is even better than the one at Dunkin Donuts. It is a bit different, however. But still quite good.
Makes 6 donuts in a single donut pan
For the donuts:
- 3/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup organic evaporated cane juice
- 1 tsp baking powder
- generous dash of ground nutmeg
- 1/3 cup plus 1 tbsp almond milk
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp applesauce
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
For the strawberry syrup:
- 1/2 cup strawberries
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1/2 cup organic evaporated cane juice
For the frosting:
- 1 tbsp Earth Balance margarine stick
- 1 tbsp organic non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening
- 1 cup organic powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup strawberry syrup
For the donuts:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a mixing bowl, stir the flour, evaporated cane juice, baking powder, and nutmeg.
- In a separate small bowl or measuring cup, mix together the remaining donut ingredients.
- Pour into the dry ingredients and stir together until combined.
- Spray the donut pan with oil if your pan is not a non-stick pan.
- Spoon batter into the donut pan.
- Cook for 12-15 minutes or longer, until the donuts become slightly gold. Check after 12 minutes and gauge from there.
- Take out of the oven and let cool 10 minutes.
- Place onto a cooling rack. You may need to take a butter knife and gently ease them out.
To make the syrup:
- Combine ingredients in a small saucepan.
- Stir continuously with a wooden spoon over low heat until thick and hot.
- Strain into a bowl. Allow to cool.
- You will have extra leftover after making the frosting which you can use on all sorts of delicious things.
To make the frosting:
- Cream together the Earth Balance and shortening with an electric handheld or stand mixer.
- Add in the powdered sugar. It will remain clumpy.
- Fold in the syrup, it will become soft and fluffy.
To make the donuts (time to make the donuts!!):
- Spread frosting around the tops of the donuts.
- Decorate with vegan sprinkles on top, if desired.
Before I get to the recipe I have a funny story to share.
First of all, I don’t think my mother would have ever made sloppy joe’s for my brother and I to eat if it weren’t for my dad’s apparent love for musical comedy CDs.
My dad is famous in our family for several things. For awhile, it was always needing the newest technology to play music or movies with. He had cd players in his cars pretty early on. The other thing he was famous, but still continues to this day, is the sick joy he gets out of torturing his family with the way he listens to music when we are in the car with him. He will make a point to have a bunch of music queued up, and will play the first 30 seconds of each song, until he finds the most annoying song he has, and then listens to that one in its entirety.
Anyways, some time during my childhood, there was the song that all I remember from it was the chorus of “Sloppy Joe, slop sloppy Joe, yeah.” Except, until now, I had somehow thought that this song was either a Meatloaf song or some other classic rock group’s song (as those are probably my Dad’s other favorite types of Musicians). I don’t even know why, it’s obvious that this song was not meant to be serious. After researching for more details of the “Sloppy Joe song slop sloppy joe” (yes that’s what I googled) it was on an Adam Sandler CD. Apparently I was only 9 at the time when this song came out, and I don’t remember any of the other songs on this album. Up until now I hadn’t even realized it was an Adam Sandler song, even though I know all of the lyrics to the Chanukkah songs by heart.
So, as I realized that there did not yet exist a vegan sloppy joe recipe that’s main ingredient was jackfruit, this song popped back into my head and I made it up. The jackfruit ends up complementing the other flavors very well, because jackfruit is a bit tangy, and with the seasonings and sauce almost makes it taste like there are pickles in the recipe. To me it tastes kind of like a fake cheeseburger with no burger or cheese.
Jackfruit Sloppy Joe Recipe
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cans jackfruit, drained and rinsed, chopped in a food processor
- 1 1/2 cups Heinz Chili Sauce or ketchup
- 1/4 cup organic brown sugar
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- 1 tsp dry mustard
- 1 tbsp turmeric (I’ve been reading all these articles lately about the benefits of turmeric lately, so I try to put it into my recipes as much as I can)
- 1 tbsp vegan worcestershire sauce or vegan steak sauce
- Vegenaise as needed
- Vegan Kaiser rolls sliced in half
- Heat oil on medium heat in a large frying pan with cover.
- Add in the onions, allow to cook until translucent.
- Add in the pepper and garlic and cook until the pepper turns bright green and then softens.
- Stir in the jackfruit and allow to cook for a few minutes. Stir for a bit, place the cover on top for a minute or two, and then take off the cover and stir a bit more.
- When the jackfruit has heated, reduce the heat to low and add the chili sauce, sugar, seasonings, and worcestershire sauce and stir until combined.
- Take off the heat and allow to cool slightly.
- Spread Vegenaise onto the bun and put a generous amount of the sloppy joe mixture onto the bun.
- Try not to make too much of a mess of yourself while eating it.
Okay, so my recent cupcake idea (posted the other day-the one before this one- the apple cinnamon cupcakes) actually branched off from my desire to have vegan “honey” roasted peanuts. I had thought it would be cool to try and replicate Bee Free Honee which is made from apples. Then I decided after some research to add some cinnamon to it, which resulted in the cupcake idea. However, I still had a hankering for the peanuts, and had plenty of leftover apple cinnamon syrup from the cupcakes. (I had also put the syrup on some pancakes I made, which was delicious!)
I’ve also been toying with getting vegan peanut brittle I’ve been seeing at my local grocery store, except it has some ingredients I try to avoid like high fructose corn syrup and such in it…So this was a good alternative.
The basic skeleton of this recipe came from Miss Kitchen Witch, another vegan blog. You should try that recipe, too!
I’m re-writing the recipe I used even though much of it is similar to make it easier for you.
- 1 pound unsalted dry roasted peanuts (I’ve never seen blanched peanuts around me so this is the next best thing. I think it reduces the cooking time slightly due to them being roasted instead of blanched).
- 1/3 cup apple cinnamon syrup from my Apple Cinnamon Cupcake recipe
- 3 tbsp apple butter, store bought or homemade
- 2 tbsp Earth Balance buttery sticks
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 4 tbsp coconut palm sugar
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
- Line a baking sheet with foil and spray a hefty coating of cooking oil on top.
- In a saucepan, combine the syrup, apple butter, Earth Balance, and salt on medium low heat until the Earth Balance melts.
- Stir in the vanilla extract.
- Place peanuts in a large bowl (one that won’t melt when you pour in the sauce) and coat completely with the sauce.
- Transfer to the baking sheet.
- Spread out in a single layer.
- Heat for 5 minutes, take out, then stir with a wooden spoon. Be sure to keep them in a single layer.
- Continue baking for 5 minutes at a time and then stirring until about 20 minutes have passed. At twenty minutes they should be done, I could tell by eating one. I think the peanuts would get a bit crispy and burned past this. But feel free to experiment, they may need an additional 5-10 minutes more.
Thank you everyone for being so excited about my ravioli post. It was my most popular blog entry yet!
This past weekend I went apple picking. It was really hot that day, so I actually had some frozen lemonade after!
I had actually been planning on this recipe in a vague form even before I decided to go apple picking. In fact, this is specifically why I wanted to go. Now I need to go apple picking every year, because I have realized fresh picked apples are so much tastier than ones bought in the store.
Of course, I bought more apples than I knew what to do with (figuratively not literally basically) so I had to make some things with them. I don’t know why I just said that because that was part of the plan, but it sounds better that way? Don’t mind me…
Fresh-picked Apple Cupcakes with Apple Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting Drizzled with Homemade Apple Syrup
Makes a dozen cupcakes
For the Apple Cinnamon Syrup:
- 1 cup coconut palm sugar
- 1 cup organic evaporated cane juice
- 2 cups water
- 5-6 red apples worth of peels
- 2 cinnamon sticks
For the cupcakes:
- 2 cups apples diced small
- 1 cup organic evaporated cane juice (vegan white sugar)
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup applesauce
- 1 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 cup almond milk
For the frosting:
- 1/4 cup earth balance
- 1/4 cup vegan non-hydrogenated shortening
- 2 cup powdered sugar
- 4 tbsp apple cinnamon syrup
- 1 tbsp almond milk or other non dairy milk of choice
For the apple cinnamon syrup:
- Stir together the sugars and water in a saucepan.
- Peel the apples and place the peels into the pan.
- Make sure you save the meat of the apples for the cupcakes and possible other things you may choose to make or eat as is.
- Add the cinnamon sticks.
- Simmer for about 45 minutes. You can have it on a medium low heat and then turn it to the lowest heat once it starts to bubble a bit.
- After 45 minutes, take off heat and allow to cool slightly. Your kitchen will smell amazing, by the way.
- Strain into a container. Discard the apple peels and cinnamon.
- Refrigerate until ready to use for the frosting. You’ll have quite a bit of extra syrup that you can use in drinks or whatever your heart desires. I’m going to use it to make a vegan roasted peanut recipe, so you may want to save some of it for when that posts!
For the cupcakes:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Mix the apples and evaporated cane juice in a mixing bowl and let sit for ten minutes.
- Add in the vegetable oil, vanilla, and apple sauce. Stir to combine.
- Fold in the flour, baking soda, and baking powder.
- Add the almond milk and stir to combine.
- Place batter into twelve cupcake liners in a muffin pan. You’ll want to fill them up more than typical cupcakes. Spread the batter out as evenly as you can into eat. I used about 2 huge heaping tablespoons in each.
- Bake for at least 20 minutes. It took my cupcakes about 24 minutes to be done. After the 20 minutes I took a toothpick and checked the middle and continued to do this every so often until they were golden brown and the toothpick came out clear.
- Allow to cool completely before frosting.
To make the frosting:
- Cream together the Earth Balance and shortening with an electic mixer.
- Add in the powdered sugar and mix until crumbly.
- Add the syrup and almond milk and mix until smooth.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix a bit more to ensure everything is mixed together.
- I like to put the frosting into a ziplock bag and snip off a corner to use as a pastry bag.
- Pipe frosting onto the cupcake in your desired arrangement.
- Drizzle extra syrup or sprinkle cinnamon on top.
PS: Today I also made Isa Chandra Moscowitz’ Kale Salad from Isa Does It. It has butternut squash and lentils and the dressing is so good. I ate it with some Earth Balance Mac and Cheese.
I wanted to take a day off after doing Vegan MoFo for the entire month (didn’t miss a day) but my people are requesting my triumphant early return.
I’m going to be making a similar recipe to share soon with a pumpkin filling that is soy free, too. I’m not sure if I will just update this post and alert people to the fact that it’s been updated, or make a separate post. But keep an eye out for it!
I posted this picture on What FAT vegans eat Facebook group and many people requested the recipe, so, here it is.
It’s easier the bigger you make them. I haven’t quite perfected the technique of forming the ravioli. I don’t actually care if they look slightly misshapen, as long as they’re delicious. That they definitely are.
Here’s a quick set of photos of the process:
After the dough was kneaded
The dough broken into 8 pieces
1/8 of the dough rolled out to form the ravioli. This gets cut in half to make two ravioli.
On the left is a ravioli in progress. The filling is on the other one, waiting to be formed.
A mostly formed ravioli
A finished ravioli (pardon the shadow)
Some of the ravioli I made
4 Cooked ravioli
On to the recipe:
Makes 16 ravioli
For the pasta dough:
- 1 2/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2/3 cup water
- 1 cup raw baby spinach
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1/4 tsp ground sage
For the filling:
- 4 cups chopped butternut squash
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 3-6 large fresh sage leaves depending on how strong you want this flavor to be
- 1/2 cup firm tofu
- Roast the butternut squash in a dish with the olive oil and pepper in a 400 degree (F) oven for 30 minutes to an hour until slightly browned and caramelized.
- Take out a large bowl and place the flour and salt and stir.
- In a food processor or blender, blend together the spinach, water, and sage until liquified.
- Drizzle the olive oil on top of the flour mix, and then add the spinach, water, and sage liquid.
- Stir with a wooden spoon until all the flour is incorporated and is not stringy or powdery. You may need to add 1-2 tbsp water to achieve this.
- Knead the dough on a clean, floured surface for about 10 minutes straight. Do this with a combination of techniques. I like to squish my hands around in the dough, then roll it into a ball, and fold and roll it. Continue until smooth and a little shiny.
- Let sit to rest in the bowl covered in plastic wrap for 10 minutes.
- Make the filling by blending or processing the squash, sage, and tofu until smooth and fully combined, scraping the sides with the spatula to get everything incorporated.
- Now begin to work on the pasta. Separate the dough into 8 even sized balls.
- Flour a dinner plate, set aside a cup with water inside, take out a rolling-pin and dust it with flour, and set aside a knife and a dinner fork. Also flour your working surface again.
- Roll the 1/8 dough ball as thin as possible. Try to make it in a rectangular shape.
- Cut the rectangular shape in half, and place 1 tbsp of the filling on the inside of each piece.
- Before folding the dough over the filling, wet water with your finger around the edges of the dough and fold around the filling so that the edges meet.
- Smooth them down. Take a fork and pinch around the edges to seal them and add a nice finished look to it.
- Dust with a bit more flour, and place on the floured plate.
- Continue steps 11-15 until you are done with the dough.
- If you don’t intend on cooking them all right away (which would require a pretty large pot, by the way if you do want to cook them all…I cooked mine in batches of 4-8 at a time) you can flour a tupperware container and place them inside and keep them in the fridge until you want them, for no more than a week. You could also place them in the freezer for even longer.
- To cook, boil a pot of water. Place in the water when boiling, let them sit in there, adjusting the heat on the stove as necessary, until they float to the top. This will take about 7-10 minutes.
- Eat once slightly cooled. They’re so good they don’t need much else, but maybe a creamy sauce would be good.
Ugh, I’m so sad Vegan MoFo is over. This was a great month for me and my blog. I was worried I wouldn’t be able to pull it off, as I started a new college program at the same time. I did it though! And my blog got featured on the Vegan MoFo Roundup, mid way through. I had met all the success markers I had set for myself in participating in this, including over 500 views. I actually doubled that amount! This was my most successful month of blogging to date, which is not surprising as MoFo provides a lot of the ability to be successful by participating in it. The trick is to a stress-free MoFo while being quite busy, I found, is to plan it out early. I made a calendar of recipes in advance, tested them, photographed them and did not stray too much from that!
I met and interacted with a lot of great bloggers that I haven’t been able to before, which was really nice. I have a bunch of new vegan blogs to follow now full of awesome people!
I have a lot of exciting things planned in the coming month as well, so don’t stop checking out my blog! Tonight I am going to be testing out a recipe for spinach raviolis with butternut squash and sage filling which I hope to post soon. I may even be doing a cooking demo for them in RI. October is my Birthday month, and I have a birthday cake waffle recipe I’ll be sharing soon! There will be other posts too that relate to my vegan education project for new vegans or people interested in becoming vegan, in which I’ll be addressing common concerns and how to deal with them. If you have any suggestions for things you’d like to see me cover, be sure to comment here or in the future.
Now, without further ado, let’s get the final Vegan MoFo recipe for Chamomile Lavender Cupcakes out!
Makes a dozen regular sized cupcakes.
For the cupcakes:
- 3/4 cup vegan sugar
- 1 tea bag worth of chamomile tea opened up, contents removed
- 1 tbsp dried culinary lavender
- 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted not solid
- 1 cup unflavored (plain) almond milk
- 1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
For the icing:
- 1 tbsp melted coconut oil
- 1/2 cup organic powdered sugar
- 1 tbsp and a few drops coconut creamer
- a couple drops of lavender extract (optional)
- vegan red and blue food coloring to make a lavender hue (optional)
Directions for the cupcakes:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cupcake tin with twelve cupcake liners.
- In a food processor, blend the sugar, chamomile tea and lavender until ground well and very fragrant. Be careful upon opening the food processor, as there will be powder coming out…don’t inhale!
- Melt the coconut oil.
- Whisk the sugar and herb mix, almond milk, and coconut oil in a medium large size mixing bowl.
- Mix in the baking soda and powder.
- Incorporate the flour in.
- Add vanilla extract and stir until everything is mostly smooth. The batter will be a bit clumpy with the coconut oil and that’s okay.
- Place about 2 tbsp of the batter in each muffin tin.
- Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the middle of the cupcake.
- Wait 5 minutes and then place on cooling racks. Allow to cool completely before decorating with the icing.
Directions for the icing:
- With a small whisk, mix up the coconut oil and powdered sugar in a small bowl until large crumbs form.
- Add the coconut creamer and whisk until smooth.
- Add the optional extract and food coloring and mix until satisfied.
- Use a frosting spatula and place a thin layer of the icing on each cupcake.
- Decorate with dried chamomile flowers.
Bye, Vegan Month of Food 2014! See you next year in 2015! I already cannot wait!
Seitan–what is it even? Simply put, it is a meat-like vegan substance typically made from vital wheat gluten. It can be used in place of almost any meat depending on how you flavor it.
Unfortunately, as you might have guessed, it is not gluten free which makes it difficult for vegans who are also gluten free to enjoy. However, upon making some mochi the other day, I think I may be able to figure out how to make some gluten free seitan eventually, so keep an eye out for when I do!
I think seitan dishes may be the theme of next year’s vegan mofo, but don’t quote me on that yet. I started a zine about it, but I am not sure if I plan on finishing it any time soon. We shall see; I’ll keep you posted.
Here are some of my recipes from the past that have used seitan in them:
French Toast, Seitan Ham and Homemade Cheese Sandwich
Ham Seitan itself
Quinoa Jambalaya with Shrimp Seitan
Additionally, this past week I made some bacun seitan from this recipe and made BLTs with it as evidenced here:
If you’re looking for a good cookbook that features a lot of good sandwich friendly seitan recipes, I suggest you check out Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day! It has recipes for chick’n patties that several of the recipes do different, beef style seitan, deli meat style, etc that all have tons of uses for in their many delicious sandwich recipes. It is one of my favorite cookbooks. I love sandwiches.
So I already posted this, but I’ll post it again in case you missed it because it’s relevant. I’ve been making food to share with my classmates at my college program as a part of my project I’m working on. Recently, they wrote about me in their “student snapshots” and actually took pictures of me unveiling this dish I’m about to post the recipe to now. It was a big hit. Take a look.
This is the type of brunch dish that is so good it amazes people. It’s also the type of dish where when you eat it you are gasping a bit. I literally said “Omm nom” when I first tried it, I think. It was so good that no one who wasn’t vegan even cared that it was vegan. I’m sorry for bragging, but honestly I was actually a bit shocked at first at how good this thing I invented came out.
It has a lot going on, but trust me, it’s so good.
It’s a bit of a pain if you need to make the pretzels just to make this dish, but if you want pretzels too, then it’s a great decision. Just reserve at least 2 days before you plan on having this.
My family has a tradition for certain holidays to make the most luxurious, elaborate, and fancy brunch recipes for certain holidays like Christmas morning and such, and this is definitely already on the menu for that!
- 4 homemade pretzels from my recipe here
- 2 cups almond milk
- 1 tbsp chia seeds
- 1 tbsp arrowroot powder
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup evaporated cane juice
- 2 tbsp vanilla
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 batch caramel date sauce (recipe from the pretzel recipe here)
- 1/4 cup Earth Balance, melted
- Break up pretzels into small chunks and place in a large mixing bowl.
- Pour almond milk over this mixture and coat well. Let sit in the fridge overnight.
- The next day, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a medium sized bowl, mix the chia seeds, arrowroot, water, sugars, vanilla, and spices together.
- Place the pretzel mixture into a casserole dish, and fold in the mixture you just prepared in the medium bowl.
- Bake for 30-40 minutes.
- Take out of the oven and drizzle both the date caramel and melted margarine over the bread pudding.
- Dig in!