Cake Batter Everything

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Thanks to this recipe for cake batter butter, I discovered that vegan butter extract exists, and started going a little overboard making all things cake batter.

Then I decided to make a raspberry cake batter smoothie.

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It’s basically two cups nondairy milk, a scoop of vanilla protein powder (I use Vega Essentials), 1/3 cup frozen raspberries, one banana, 1/2 tsp vegan butter extract, 1/2 tsp almond extract, and 2 tsp vanilla extract. I also added in some vegan sprinkles, So Delicious coco whip to make it creamier (about 1/3 cup in the smoothie, and more for the topping), and drank it out of a fun straw. If you make the nut butter, you can also add a tablespoon or two into the blender.

Enjoy!

PS: If you like vegan, gluten free, soy free, and protein packed waffles, check out the new Fitquick birthday cake flavor…I haven’t tried it yet but I love their stuff and can’t wait until I can!

 

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Better than Cadbury Cream Eggs! (vegan, fair trade, and gluten free) with update for palm free/gmo free recipe

Hi!

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I’ve been wanting to make a vegan chocolate cream egg since…well…every year I’ve been vegan. This year I finally decided to take action.

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I bought an egg shaped mold from a craft store and everything. However, I found a recipe on one of my favorite blogs, Hell Yeah It’s Vegan which does not require a mold (and I think comes out better if you don’t). Please check the blog out beyond this recipe. It’s amazing!

Originally I just made some simple adjustments to the recipe. Instead of using yellow and red food coloring, I made the yellow out of water and powdered turmeric. I also changed the method a bit, instead of using two disks I used one and just free-styled the yellow part of the egg by placing it in the center and wrapping the white part around it and shaping it into an egg shape. It was actually really easy in terms of making candies and other stuff.

The chocolate I used was Equal Exchange Fair Trade chocolate chips which I am really passionate about buying from now on. Not only are they conflict/child labor/slave labor free and on the Food Empowerment Project chocolate list, but they’re also the best tasting chocolate and worked like a dream.

But I was annoyed that I was making these with Earth Balance, which has palm oil in it, and corn syrup, which is often gmo and not organic (genetically modified). So I had to totally revamp the recipe. It works just as well if not better. The updated recipe is below!

Of course, these are also gluten free and also nut free (if you don’t consider coconut a nut!)

Chocolate Creme Eggs–vegan, gluten free, palm oil free, fair trade, organic

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp brown rice syrup
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp refined coconut oil (solid) –plus 2 tsp for the chocolate
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 3 cups organic/gluten free powdered sugar
  • Ground turmeric and water, as needed
  • 8 oz (or more, just use the full bag) fair trade, vegan chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. In a stand mixer, cream the brown rice syrup, coconut oil, vanilla extract, and water together.
  2. Slowly incorporate the powdered sugar into this mixture, blending until well combined. If it is hard to mix add a small amount of water, no more than an 2 additional teaspoons.
  3. Place a small amount of the mixture into a small bowl (a third or less of it), and sprinkle the turmeric powder and a small amount of water (you do want this to get a little runny), use a small whisk or spoon to stir it together until it all incorporates and is a bright yellow color. It will be hard to combine at first.
  4. Cover both bowls and place them in the refrigerator for an hour or more. If you are short on time you can place them in the freezer for no more than 30 minutes.
  5. Cover two cookie sheets with parchment or wax paper.
  6. With a small spoon, place little blobs of the yellow mixture onto the tray. You want to aim for about 15 nickel size pieces.
  7. Then shape the white mixture into 30 flat egg shaped discs and place on the other tray.
  8. Place the white ones in the fridge and the yellow in the freezer for 20-30 minutes.
  9. Take one white disc, place the yellow blob and put it in the middle, then place another white disc to form a sandwich. Smush together and then shape by rolling in between your hands into an egg shape. Continue on with the rest of them. It’s okay if some of the yellow is oozing out, it gets better looking results that way.
  10. Place again in the freezer for a half hour (or more).
  11. Melt the chocolate with 2 tsp coconut oil in the microwave or a double boiler.
  12. Dip the frozen eggs fully into the chocolate one by one, placing on a cookie sheet with a fresh sheet of parchment paper or wax paper to set. I have found that the best method is to use a spoon to roll the egg in the chocolate and then carefully take out of the chocolate, letting the excess drip off back into the chocolate, and then placing onto the tray. They will not be perfect, you may have some drips that deform the egg shape. Once you let them set you can break those off a little bit.
  13. Place in the refrigerator or freezer to set fully. I like to keep a big batch of them wrapped in foil in the freezer, and when there is a day that I want one, I place it in the fridge for a few hours, let it sit out for a little longer at room temperature, and then dig in! They are so good.

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Holidays! (xmas recap)

I’m in the mood to do a show and tell kind of post, with pictures and descriptions of my Christmas…so here it goes:

*Note: I decided to eat gluten this holiday…I need to go back to eating gluten free because I don’t feel great again, but I wanted to see how I felt with it. I’m glad I don’t have celiacs, but I’m definitely pretty sensitive. I’ve missed some of this food so much though.

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My brother illustrated a portrait of two of my cats for my dad’s business. It’s really cute. Cats seemed to be the theme of our Christmas this year.

In fact, I made a bunch of cat sugar cookies.

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Unfortunately, I am a little weak with my decoration skills.

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For Christmas Eve we made my Pizza Strips and this caesar salad.

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My orange cat, Sammy, woke me up very early on Christmas morning so I went downstairs to make some cinnamon buns with coffee icing for everyone.

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Yum! They were a hit with everyone. I actually bought pre-made vegan cinnamon buns and just made the icing myself, because it would have been difficult to make them from scratch in the morning and have them ready on time.

Later, we had Chef Chloe Coscarelli’s Pistachio Guacamole from her Italian cookbook for an appetizer:

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For my dinner I made Sporkfood’s frosted tempeh beet loaf. My mom made Chloe Coscarelli’s creamed spinach for me and twice baked potatoes.

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For dessert we made Chloe Coscarelli’s lava cakes with raspberry sauce, So Delicious coco whip and ice cream.

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And I got quite a few culinary presents in the form of new cookbooks!

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It was quite a delicious event! I hope those of you who celebrate Christmas all had a great holiday!

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Gluten free and Vegan Gingerbread House Info (as promised!)

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So, I promised I would share some more details about how I made this house! This post will come complete with some helpful recipes and tips.

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My mother bought awhile ago gingerbread house molds…she has 2 of them that make up an entire house. Each mold has 2 different sides with a different style of house on each. They have a victorian house and a log cabin. I’m sure you can find a set online like this with some googling. But if you want something easier, I think you could try one of these templates.

Once you’ve selected a template, have a stash of vegan candy at the ready, you can prepare the gingerbread dough.

Here is the recipe for the gluten free and vegan gingerbread house cookie dough:

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup organic non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening
  • 1/2 cup vegan white sugar*
  • 1/2 cup blackstrap molasses
  • 2 tablespoons cold water
  • 2 cups superfine brown rice flour
  • 1/3 cup tapioca starch
  • 2/3 cup potato starch (be sure the only ingredient listed is “potato starch” otherwise you might have a product that is actually “potato flour”)
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

* if you are interested in making a tastier structure of the house to eat, I suggest you experiment a bit with adding more sugar.

Directions:

Note: you will definitely need a stand mixer for this, as the dough is really tough and needs to be kind of like cement. It’s also necessary to make the royal icing you will need later to assemble and decorate.

  1. In a stand mixer, cream together the shortening, sugar, molasses, and water.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix until it becomes a stiff dough.
  3. Chill for at least an hour in the fridge.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  5. Grease your molds or cookie sheets with spray oil.
  6. If using a mold, press the dough into it, trying as best as you can to make the dough even and filling the edges well. If you are using a template, this will require some extra work. You will need to roll the dough out to be about 1/3 inch thick, place the templates on top, and cut around the template. Take care in transferring the dough to the cookie sheet.
  7. Bake in the mold or on the cookie sheet for 25 minutes.
  8. Let sit for 10 minutes, and then carefully transfer to a cooling rack.
  9. It’s good to let it sit out for a day before you assemble so it can be a sturdier house and you don’t have any crumbling gingerbread houses! (believe me, I think tears have been shed by my mom–and maybe us kids– in Christmases of the past where she was putting the house together and wasn’t patient or calm for various reasons…)

Next, when the gingerbread is made and ready, you will need to create a royal icing. Don’t expect this to taste all that good either. It needs to be like glue to keep the house together and the candy stuck to it. That’s what we’re going for here.

Vegan Royal Icing:

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Ingredients:

  • 4 cups vegan powdered sugar
  • 9 tablespoons aquafaba (the liquid from a can of chickpeas)
  • 1 teaspoon water

Directions:

  1. Start by placing 5 tablespoons of aquafaba in the mixer.
  2. Slowly add the 4 cups of powdered sugar.
  3. Continue to mix while adding the other 4 tablespoons of aquafaba, a tablespoon at a time.
  4. Add a teaspoon of water (you may want a little less, check to ensure a similar consistency as the picture above).
  5. Mix on high speed for ten minutes.
  6. Place into a ziplock bag with a corner cut off or a pastry bag with an attachment that has a wide sized opening (I used the former, it seemed like a safer bet because this stuff really is cement-like).
  7. Use immediately to assemble the house and then decorate with candy.

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To create the house:

This is the fun part, but you need to be calm and patient (and have a fairly steady hand)!

  1. Make sure you have some kind of clean surface to attach it to. My family has always covered cardboard with tinfoil.
  2. Start by making a line or two of icing on the board the size of the first side of the house you will attach to it. Press the gingerbread house piece into it and hold it in place for at least 15 seconds.
  3. Place icing for the connected wall of the house coming from the corner of the already attached wall and up the sides. Carefully press together and hold for another 15 seconds. You may also want to reinforce the inside corner with some extra icing.
  4. Continue to assemble in a similar manner. Take extra care in attaching the roof as this is where disaster can occur.
  5. Once you’ve completed the house, it should be safe to continue decorating. The icing has about a 30 minute window before it gets too stiff and unusable, so you kind of need to work quickly. If you have kids that you are doing this activity with, I recommend placing a lot of the icing on the roof and having them do that first. Just make sure they are lightly touching it, as it might be a little fragile still. Use the icing  for any other candy pieces that need security, but I recommend that you also use another favorite frosting recipe to decorate the rest if you have young kids, it will be less frustrating for them and more fun/delicious.

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I made a snowman out of Dandies marshmallows (that I used lots of toothpicks to achieve this effect with, including one in the middle). Gluten free vegan pretzels make great fences and stuff. Like I said in the other post about this, coconut flakes are great for making snow, but can get messy. I had bought some vegan gumballs to use too, but ran out of icing for them…there are lots of vegan candies and snacks you can use…I wish I had put more chocolate on mine! 😉 Enjoy!

 

 

Happy Holidays from Banana Curl, Vegan Girl!

First of all, it’s Chanukah right now, so Happy Chanukah for those who celebrate it! Some of you know from past posts that I grew up celebrating both Jewish and Christian holidays, and I really love the traditions my family has around both holidays.

This year I thought I’d share something a little different and funny. One of my favorite Christmas books as a kid was called “Jingle Bells.” One year, I think maybe in 3rd or 4th grade, I decided there needed to be a Chanukah Bugs version of the book. So, I made it myself! I wasn’t great at spelling…so please forgive that aspect…but here are some pictures I took of the pop up book I had created.

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By the way–check out my recipe for latkes from last Chanukah!

And as for Christmas–I’ve been trying to enjoy a childhood sense of magic this year because I have felt I need it with all the horrible stuff going on in the world. One of the biggest projects I took on this year was making a vegan and gluten free gingerbread house!

I’m going to make a separate post about how to create your own in a few days or so, but check out my results for now!

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I managed to find all vegan/gf, gelatin free candy at a dollar store believe it or not! I used gluten free/vegan pretzels, and Dandies marshmallows for a snowman (not pictured, you’ll see them later!).  I wanted to put coconut flakes for snow but it would have made too much of a mess and I had run out of royal icing (made with aquafaba–chickpea brine that is pure magic!) to try to make a fence to keep it in, so I did without that…now I need to find something to do with sweetened flaked coconut! 😉 The gingerbread itself is made with a blend of gluten free flours. Based on my experiments making gluten free cookies and such lately, I knew it’d be perfect for gingerbread houses because it’s so dense. Unfortunately, there isn’t enough sugar in the gingerbread cookie dough to make me actually want to eat more of it…oh well, it’s still a nice decoration!

So Happy Chanukah! And for those interested in more of the gingerbread house, hopefully you will see a post from me soon about how you can recreate it yourself! 🙂

Rhode Island Pizza Strip Recipe, and a whirlwind month just ended

Hi everyone,

Wow. That’s all I can say right now haha. So much has been going on in my life. May was a busy month for me. I finished my last ever spring semester as an undergraduate! Then I began preparing for my graduation from College Unbound. Part of this included sharing my story and growth in what is called a senior exhibition. I used it as an opportunity to do an inspirational speech based upon my life thus far.

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The night of that event, my mom and I made food for everyone who came out to see me speak and show their support. I made my famous raspberry lime rickey cupcakes, a cookie pie from The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur, these gluten free cookies which are always a big hit, a cake (from an overspill of the cupcakes), and vegan caesar salad. Additionally, I veganized a type of pizza I have only ever found in RI, but is delicious. It’s basically pizza strips that you can find in delis and bakeries, which I’m pretty sure is fairly unique to this state. It looks weird/plain, but I assure you it is really good!

Here is the recipe:

Rhode Island Style Pizza Strips

Ingredients:

2 lbs pizza dough, divided in half

2 tbsp nutritional yeast

1 tbsp hulled hemp seeds

1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes without citric acid (optional, but makes the sauce sweeter)

½ cup olive oil, divided in half

3 tbsp vegan white sugar

½ tsp salt

1 clove minced garlic

¾ tsp dried oregano

¼ tsp ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Prepare two baking sheets with parchment paper or grease them with olive oil.
  3. In a spice grinder or small food processor, blend together the nutritional yeast and hemp seeds.
  4. Make the sauce by mixing the tomatoes, ¼ cup olive oil, sugar, salt, garlic, oregano, pepper, and the hemp/nutritional yeast mix together in a bowl. Make sure the sugar and salt is not just sitting at the bottom of the bowl.
  5. Take each one-pound of dough and spread it out onto the baking sheet into a thick (about ½ inch or a bit more) rectangular shape.
  6. Spread half the sauce on each of the two rectangles of dough.
  7. Drizzle half the olive oil (2 tbsp each) onto each rectangle.
  8. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes. You want the sauce to be dry and the edges and moist in the middle.
  9. Let cool on a wire rack, and cut into strips of 8 slices for each rectangle.
  10. Enjoy this famous RI pizza, veganized!

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Here are some more pictures from that night!

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And of course, how could I not include photos from my graduation that Saturday?

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You may be able to tell, I was crying in the second picture! haha

I made it! 😉

Vegan New England Style “Lobstah” salad made from hearts of palm and 7 days of new smoothie recipes to share!

Hello everybody, 

I did this thing this past week that I was going to blog about. Unfortunately I got a new laptop and when I transferred all the pictures I had  from my phone to my laptop, (including the ones I needed to make the blog entry) some of them got lost in the shuffle. I tried a new smoothie recipe every day of the week, and wanted to talk about them. Instead, lacking pictures, I will post the links to the recipes I used at the end of this entry.

I do however have a picture for the recipe I am about to share!

Growing up in the New England area of the East Coast United States, lobster salads have always been a thing. They’re also usually kind of a big treat. Today I was inspired by that, and wanted to make a vegan version. This is truly “lobstah” as Bostonians and Rhode Islanders would say, but is free from any cruelty towards the real sea creatures.

I used hearts of palm as the main “meat,” and some sun-dried tomatoes as well to give color, flavor, and texture. There is a mix of seafood-y spices, lemon juice, and other seasonings, and the mix of vegenaise and vegan sour cream makes a delightfully creamy dressing for it.

New England Vegan Hearts of Palm “Lobstah” Salad

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cans salad chopped hearts of palm, drained, placed in a food processor and pulsed a few times to further chop them
  • 1/2 cup julienned cut sun dried tomatoes (the kind that comes in a bag, not packed in oil. I’d actually recommend soaking these in warm water for an hour or until a bit softer prior to including them in the salad because I didn’t and some were chewier and a bit tough when I ate them…soaking would solve that problem, but is probably optional)
  • 1 tsp kelp granules
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp dill
  • 1/4 tsp old bay seasoning
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper (use less if placing on top of greens instead of on bread)
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup vegenaise
  • 1/2 cup vegan sour cream (I used tofutti)

Directions:

  1. Place chopped, drained, and processed hearts of palm in a mixing bowl or other large container.
  2. Add sun-dried tomatoes and stir.
  3. Add spices and take a spoon to mix them into the chopped hearts of palm and sun-dried tomatoes. Make sure they are evenly coated.
  4. Add lemon juice, vegenaise, and sour cream and stir. 
  5. Serve in a bun with some crunchy lettuce, or on top of salad greens with whatever other toppings you desire.
  6. Enjoy!

 

So there is that! Now as promised, here is the list and links to the smoothies I made each day last week:

  1. Raspberry Lime Zinger from Oh She Glows *Second place in my favorites!
  2. Pumpkin Chai from The Sweet Life
  3. Key Lime Pie Green Smoothie from Healthful Pursuit
  4. Pina Colada Smoothie from Foodie with Family
  5. Orange Creamsicle Smoothie (also from The Sweet Life) *My favorite one I tried!
  6. Chocolate Strawberry Almond Protein Smoothie from The Healthy Family and Home
  7. Chamomile Strawberry Quinoa Smoothie from Apron and Sneakers *Runner up for favorite 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

My own vegan brownie recipe!

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i have been very picky with vegan brownie recipes. Honestly, I haven’t found a good enough recipe and I’ve tried a lot. So, I decided to take the plunge and create my own. I really had no idea how it would turn out and got so nervous…I decided to try making plain brownies before I try to make them fancier for a secret recipe I’m currently working on for an Earth Balance baking contest. I decided once I made these that they’ll do the trick for that purpose, and wanted to share the recipe now for just the brownies, because I think they did come out pretty good for vegan brownies. My mom has a family recipe she uses that aren’t vegan, and I looked at that to get some ideas, but her recipe has way too many eggs to be able to veganize, as well as way too much margarine for my liking.

So here is the recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup vegan white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp flaxmeal
  • 6 tbsp water
  • 1 stick (8 tbsp, or 1/2 cup equivalent) earth balance margarine, melted
  • 1/3 cup applesauce
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup non-dairy milk

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Mix dry ingredients (except flaxmeal) in a bowl together.
  3. Make 2 flaxmeal “eggs” by whisking the 2 tbsp flaxmeal and 6 tbsp water together. Let sit until thick.
  4. Mix flaxmeal “eggs” and the rest of the wet ingredients into the dry. It should have a runny yet thick consistency.
  5. Place in a baking dish sprayed with oil.
  6. Bake brownies for 20-30 minutes. I recommend after 20 minutes starting to check with a toothpick inserted into the middle until it comes out clear every five minutes and adjusting the time if it seems it will be done in less than 5. I find that ovens can vary drastically from oven to oven, so I want to make sure it works for you and say this! 🙂
  7. Take out of the oven when done. Let sit until cooled most of the way or fully, and slice, and enjoy!

Simple Vegan French Toast Recipe

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French Toast!

To be completely honest I really don’t like any of the vegan French Toast recipes that I have tried. They all call for chickpea (garbanzo) flour which can be difficult to get (never mind expensive!) and are kind of a pain in the but to make. 

Instead of chickpea flour, I have my own secret french toast ingredient. It’s arrowroot. Long ago when I was starting out as a vegan, I read in one of the punk rock diy cookbooks I had (It was either Soy! Not Oi! or Please Don’t Feed the Bears…if you are familiar with them both you might see why I get confused about which one’s which sometimes) that arrowroot was a great vegan pantry staple ingredient to always have on hand. Unfortunately, it can sometimes be tricky to find in large quantities. However, I buy it in a big bag from Bob’s Red Mill online. Arrowroot is a cornstarch substitute, but unlike cornstarch, supposedly it is more easily digested. Plus, thinking about the cornstarch and water mixture I used to love to play with as a kid going into my body scares me…that being said, if you want to make this delicious French Toast recipe right away and do not have arrowroot on hand, go ahead and use cornstarch. It’s a fairly small amount, and works exactly the same.

The recipe:

Delicious, Simple Vegan French Toast Recipe

Makes about 6 slices of bread (could be more or less depending on bread thickness and other factors)

Ingredients:

9 tbsp flour

2 tbsp arrowroot (or cornstarch)

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

2 tsp maple syrup

1 cup almond milk or other vegan milk of choice (I used sweetened vanilla almond breeze)

2 tbsp Vegan Margarine 

Vegan bread of choice (I used Trader Joe’s Texas Toast slices–they taste kind of like sweet bread and are really thick and delicious)

Directions:

  1. In a medium but shallow bowl or container, mix the powders together. 
  2. Add the liquid ingredients.
  3. Whisk together until it’s no longer clumpy. The thickness should be that of a typical french toast batter, but if you’ve never made french toast before, I’m not sure what to compare it to. You want it to be thick, but not the thickness of a pancake batter, but not too watery either. If the thickness doesn’t seem right, add 1/2 tbsp flour until you get the right texture.
  4. Heat a griddle or large frying pan on the stove on medium heat.
  5. Melt the vegan margarine.
  6. Once the margarine is melted, dip both sides of the bread in the batter and place on the griddle. Repeat until all the batter is used up or do like I did and save the batter for later by covering it and placing it in the fridge (you will need way less margarine if you only do 1 or a few slices).
  7. Cook on each side, at least two minutes each, but go by the way it looks, you want it to be crispy and golden with some brown spots.
  8. Voila! You can nom on it now! I put some maple syrup on top. Powdered sugar would also taste delicious!