Vegan MoFo Day 11: Post #8

Okay, I’m trying to juggle everything I’m doing with school and all that and also not feeling the last few days’ prompts. I had told myself a few days ago that even if I didn’t like the prompt, I would still write a blog entry because the point of MoFo is more about posting as many days as humanly possible for the month.

Today’s prompt was to “focus on a nutrient.” Who eats nutrients? 😛

So I’m going to do a Flashback Friday post! Since I probably have some new readers here now because of MoFo, I figured I’d flashback to a recipe I posted last MoFo! And, it just so happens I am actually making the recipe tonight! Because tomorrow my neighborhood is having a block party bbq thing, and I want to impress them with my cupcake skills (sadly I personally can’t eat them now because they have gluten in them).

Remember my raspberry lime rickey cupcakes? Well, that’s what I’m making. They were seriously my favorite before I had to give up gluten (at least I can still eat my favorite part though…the frosting!!).

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I did an especially good job making the batter tonight. Sometimes I take too long and the coconut oil solidifies a bit while I’m mixing it. The trick I guess is to not use really cold almond milk and also to have everything ready and measured before I start making them (I’m impatient, what can I say?).

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They look like they baked well too.

And here’s a picture from when I made them awhile ago.

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Also, for my graduation speech thingy, I made these, as well as a cake made out of the batter because I forgot how much batter this makes and had doubled the recipe. Woops, but tasty.

Oh I also wore a tank top to the gym today that said “Bake the world a better place” which is so fitting for me. I didn’t take a picture though, and it’s too gross now to try and take one by putting it back on and taking one now. Haha. I will have to remember another time.

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Making vegan Macarons for the first time!

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French macarons (not to be confused with coconut macaroons) are a meringue based sandwich cookie with almond flour. They are quite popular and come in all different kinds of flavor combinations. They are supposedly difficult to make even when not vegan. Vegan macarons were once believed to be impossible to make, because there was no good vegan alternative to meringues. But now there is!

You may recall my post about magical bean juice (also referred to as aquafaba in vegan circles) for making meringue cookies. You can do the same thing with these! I didn’t make up my own recipe since I’ve never made these before, but I still want to share the recipe I used and my results.

This is the recipe I used but I changed the flavors, colors, and frosting recipe. It worked perfectly for me, even on my first try. I personally feel like it it might have had a lot to do with the weather, it was a great sunny day. I found this recipe from a group all all about making vegan meringue and using aquafaba.

I chose to make lavender agave frosting and used a super fruit jelly in the middle from Trader Joe’s.

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The texture came out so great. The frosting I made was a little runny, so the recipe I am including here is changed to account for it to be better.

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The recipe for the frosting is as follows:

  • 1 tbsp agave
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp lavender extract
  • 3 tbsp almond milk

You just need to mix everything together.

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in the oven almost done

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out of the oven

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close up of the feet

I absolutely loved these, and the best part is they are automatically gluten free!

I’m deep in the midst of making food for volunteers at Girls Rock RI this week, stay tuned for a post about that soon!

Going gluten free. First gluten free and vegan baked good –strawberry rhubarb pie!

Well, I am somewhat relieved to finally have an explanation as to why I have been so exhausted lately. I have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, which is an autoimmune disorder. I also have hypothyroidism as a result of it. So, I started researching what else I can do that will help me to feel better besides what my doctor is doing for me. And I kept seeing the benefit of going gluten free. I know I seem to have issues with feeling like crap when I eat too much gluten, so I am trying it. It’s sad for me, because I really loved gluten. I will need to learn more about baking gluten free, and I know I can do it, and be making all sorts of new delicious vegan AND gluten free stuff in the future!

In fact, I made a pie. Unfortunately, my oven and stove just randomly stopped working yesterday. I’m glad I made this before that! I have some ideas up my sleeve for the future, but they will have to wait until it gets fixed 😦

IMG_3740It’s my favorite pie of all time, strawberry rhubarb.

I actually used Bob’s Red Mill Pie Crust Mix. I had used it before and thought it was awesome even when I wasn’t gluten free.

Here is the recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag Bob’s Red Mill gf pie crust mix
  • 12 tbsp Earth Balance cut into tbsp sized pieces
  • 8 tbsp cold non hydrogenated organic vegetable shortening
  • 8 tbsp cold water
  • 1 lb strawberries, chopped into slices
  • 1 1/4 cup rhubarb, chopped
  • 1 cup vegan sugar
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

Directions:

  1. First make the crust. Follow the directions on the back of the packaging. I always need the full 8 tbsp of water it says I might need. You may need 6 or 7 like it says. I find it hard to roll out after it’s been in the fridge…but I manage to fix it up if it breaks apart a bit as it’s pretty easy to put back together.
  2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  3. While the crusts are chilling, combine the strawberries, rhubarb, sugar, cornstarch, and lemon juice into a large bowl.
  4. Take the crusts out of the fridge after the hour has passed, and roll one out into a large circle.
  5. Press into a pie pan.
  6. Pour the filling inside.
  7. To make a latticed topping, cut strips out of the second pie crust after rolling it out a bit.
  8. Place the strips across the pie. First lay them out horizontally, then vertically. You may need a spatula to help you get them off your work surface, and they will probably break apart, but it will still look nice even if they break apart on the pie. Just smoosh them together a bit if they crack or fall apart in the process.
  9. Place in the oven with a cookie sheet underneath to avoid the gooey delicious filling from falling on the bottom of the oven, making a mess and a nasty smell/smoke.
  10. Bake at 425 degrees F for 15 minutes, then turn down the oven to 350 and bake for anywhere between 30-60 additional minutes until the crust is firm and golden/brown around the edges.
  11. Enjoy! My entire family loved it. When I asked if they could tell the difference between this and a gluten based pie crust, they said they couldn’t. (I can, unfortunately, haha! but it’s still really good!)

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Last day of Vegan Mofo 2014, I’m sad! Here are some too-good baked goods-Chamomile Lavender Cupcakes

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!

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Makes a dozen regular sized cupcakes.

Ingredients:

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)

Decoration (optional):

  • Dried Chamomile flowers

Directions for the cupcakes:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cupcake tin with twelve cupcake liners.
  2. 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!
  3. Melt the coconut oil.
  4. Whisk the sugar and herb mix, almond milk, and coconut oil in a medium large size mixing bowl.
  5. Mix in the baking soda and powder.
  6. Incorporate the flour in.
  7. 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.
  8. Place about 2 tbsp of the batter in each muffin tin.
  9. Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the middle of the cupcake.
  10. Wait 5 minutes and then place on cooling racks. Allow to cool completely before decorating with the icing.

Directions for the icing:

  1. With a small whisk, mix up the coconut oil and powdered sugar in a small bowl until large crumbs form.
  2. Add the coconut creamer and whisk until smooth.
  3. Add the optional extract and food coloring and mix until satisfied.

For assembly:

  1. Use a frosting spatula and place a thin layer of the icing on each cupcake.
  2. Decorate with dried chamomile flowers.

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Bye, Vegan Month of Food 2014! See you next year in 2015! I already cannot wait!

Vegan MoFo 2014- Day 9: My Rhode Island semi-famous vegan Cashew Cheese Danish Recipe

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I’ve been back and forth about whether I should actually share this recipe. My future dreams of possibly owning a vegan business and definitely (I hope!) writing a cookbook tell me I should keep this a secret until then. However, seeing there aren’t any recipes on the web for vegan pastry dough and cashew cheese danish quite like this (but it has been attempted many times in other ways), I figured, why not share the deliciousness with everyone? Part of my goal with this blog is to make vegan food accessible to all. So, it seems rather hypocritical of me to guard this recipe so much.

Besides, I’ve been told that, “I have the patience of a saint” which I partially agree with. I do have a lot of patience. The patience ranges from elaborate, multi-step recipes that are strewn out across several days (like this one) to working with people (unless those people are my family whom I still live with or my cat when he tries to make biscuits with his claws out eat my favorite blanket, inadvertently destroying it). This recipe requires a lot of patience in that sense, although I love the relatively easy cleanup that comes from making the dough in a food processor!

Finally, I want to share an anecdote from when I first made these to test out the recipe. They came out way more amazing than I had ever hoped. I was going to a vegan feminist meeting in Providence and wanted to share them with my fellow feminists. They seemed to enjoy them. But upon walking back to my car from the meeting, as I was crossing the street, a car full of three of my friends from Girl’s Rock, RI who all love the food I make for their camps randomly saw me and stopped at the light. They asked me what I was doing, and since I had a bunch of the danish with me, I offered them some. When I got home, awaiting for me on my facebook was a picture they took of me with a mischievously delicious grin on my face (quite secretively because I didn’t even realize it!) proclaiming that I was:

A magic angel. We bumped into her at a random intersection and she fed us homemade baked goods. I am not hangery and that danish was ah-mazing. Providence we are a lucky bunch.

And last night I made them again and they came out even better than the first time because they were so beautifully browned! I fed them to my cohort at my school, and they were a huge hit! Even with no one being vegan themselves, there!!

Before I get to the actual recipe, here are some pictures so you can see the process after the dough is all set to be made into the pastry:

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Putting the brown sugar on the dough squares

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Making the dough into a cylinder shape

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The “pinch pot” coil shape

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Adding the cheese

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The finished product

 

Vegan Cashew Cheese Danish Recipe:

Makes 2 dozen danish pastries

Ingredients:

For the sweet Lemon Cashew cheese:

  • 2 cups raw cashews soaked in water overnight and rinsed
  • 2 tbsp plain coconut milk yogurt
  • 2 tbsp plain almond milk
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp lemon zest
  • 12 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp cornstarch or arrowroot powder
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp salt

For the pastry dough:

  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 1/2 cup plain almond milk at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 tsp egg replacer powder and 2 tbsp and water
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 package active dry yeast (about 1 1/2 – 2 tsp)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) Earth Balance cut into 1 tbsp sized chunks

For assembly:

  • Brown sugar to sprinkle
  • 1 tbsp egg replacer powder mixed with 4 tbsp almond milk as a wash

For the glaze:

  • 1/2 cup (a bit more actually) organic confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 tsp almond milk

Directions:

To make the cashew cheese:

  1. Blend all ingredients in a food processor.
  2. Lay out some cheesecloth inside a mixing bowl and pour the cheese inside.
  3. Wrap the cheesecloth around the cheese into a ball.
  4. Let sit in a warm area of the kitchen overnight or at least 8 hours.
  5. Place in the refrigerator until needed, up to a week or so.

To make the pastry dough:

  1. Pour water and almond milk into a bowl and sprinkle with the yeast, mix a bit until absorbed, and let sit ten minutes untouched.
  2. After the 10 minutes, add the egg replacer and water to the bowl with the yeast, mix together, and set aside.
  3. Set up your food processor with a large mixing bowl next to it. Place the flour, salt, and sugar inside the processor.
  4. Pulse very briefly to combine the ingredients, then add the Earth Balance chunks and pulse about 10 short times. You still want to see small chunks of the Earth Balance in it.
  5. Empty this crumb mixture into the bowl you set aside. Add the yeast liquid and combine with a rubber spatula or your hands. Don’t over mix, it should still be gooey and messy.
  6. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours to overnight.

To prepare the dough further:

  1. Take out of the fridge and let it sit to warm up a bit for about 10-20 minutes, depending on how long you let it stay in the fridge.
  2. Lightly dust a clean surface area to work in with flour.
  3. Take half the dough and roll out into a thin square or rectangle-like shape.
  4. Fold in thirds as you would a pamphlet.
  5. Turn so that the folded edge is to your left, and roll out again into a square, repeat the rolling and folding steps three more times. Fold one more time and leave the dough that way.
  6. Repeat with the other half of the dough.
  7. Place each dough rectangle in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

To make the Danish:

  1. Roll one of the wrapped dough rectangles out into a large thin square or rectangle shape.
  2. Cut into 12 squares or rectangles, about 3”x2.”
  3. Sprinkle each square with brown sugar.
  4. Roll up with the width side (the longer side) into a round cylinder shape. (See pictures)
  5. Now take these cylinders and form into a coil shape, sort of like a cinnamon bun.
  6. Take your hand and mush so there’s no gaps in the coil, making a well for the filling. It’ll look sort of like a pinch pot if you’ve ever done basic clay/pottery work.
  7. Top each with about one tbsp of the cream cheese filling.
  8. Place on a baking sheet with parchment paper lining it, and brush the egg replacer and almond milk mixture around the pastry part.
  9. Let sit for an hour and a half.
  10. After one hour has passed in the sit time, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  11. Place in oven for 20 minutes or longer, until slightly golden brown and firmly puffy.
  12. When cool to the touch, place on a wire rack and make the glaze.

To make the glaze and finish these delicious suckers:

  1. Mix the confectioner’s sugar, vanilla, and almond milk in a bowl with a spoon.
  2. Drizzle over the danish with a fork and allow to set before eating. 
  3. Share with as many people as possible, and don’t forget to tell them where you got the recipe from! 😉

 

 

 

 

Laura’s first ever original recipe: Baked “Honey” and Lavender Donuts!

Wow, so just yesterday I debuted this blog on the internet, and it’s already motivating me and inspiring my cooking in amazing ways!

I was in the mall after school and decided to purchase a donut pan and some lavender extract, two things that have been in my amazon wishlist for awhile, but haven’t bought yet because of my need for instant gratification…so there they were in my shopping bag, and my mind was going wild with different things I could do with both items together.

These donuts were born from the initial brainstorm:

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Baked “Honey” and Lavender Glazed Donuts!

I’ve never created my own recipe until now…I had to do lots of research on a basic donut recipe and then veganized it and tweaked that a bit…I wanted my donuts to have a lavender like color, but did not want to use artificial colors, so I added some smushed up blueberries to give it the color. I am not a fan of the taste of blueberries except for the occasional good muffin, but these I can barely taste the blueberries in, which is fine by me. The glaze was really tasty in my opinion, but I might try to find a more icing type of frosting to make next time because I think it’ll look nicer. My family who tried them also said the amount of lavender I put in the glaze was a bit overpowering, so I changed the recipe a bit.

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A cartoon I drew of my cat, Neko!

My cat Neko is a kindred scent spirit to me apparently, and shares my love of all things lavender. While the kitchen was scented with it’s essence, his nose was working hard trying to find the source of the smell, and he just hung out on the kitchen counter for a while looking quite relaxed.

Before I get to the recipe for these babies, I want to also share a review of what I use for the “honey.” It’s kind of awesome, because I don’t really like agave (I think it’s too much like high fructose syrup). It’s called Bee Free Honee and I think more vegans should try it! It’s made of apples and I can’t believe how close it comes to the taste of real honey from my memory of it. I give it:

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Okay, okay, here’s the recipe:

Baked “Honey” and Lavender Donuts

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time to make the donuts!

Makes 6 donuts

Ingredients:

1 flax egg (1 tbsp flaxmeal and 3 tbsp water, whisked–let sit for a bit)

1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1/2 Cup Vanilla Almond Milk (sweetened or unsweetened is fine, I used sweetened)

1/2 cup blueberries

2 tbsp bee free honee or agave (or even maple syrup)

2 tbsp unsweetened applesauce

1/4 cup vegan sugar

1 tsp lavender extract (I got mine at Sur La Table…you can probably get it at any good specialty cooking store or even Amazon where I originally saw it. This is the brand I bought there)

3/4 tsp baking powder

1/8 tsp baking soda

1 1/3 cup unbleached all-purpose white flour

Glaze:

2 tbsp almond milk

a couple drops (if possible) of lavender extract

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup organic powdered sugar

Dried lavender flowers or vegan sprinkles, for garnish

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Make flax egg, whisk, and set aside in a small bowl.
  3. In a measuring cup, pour the apple cider vinegar, and then fill up with the almond milk. Whisk and then set aside 5-10 minutes. This creates a vegan buttermilk substitute!
  4. Mash blueberries with a potato masher in a bowl, or roughly in a food processor or blender. You don’t want them to be too liquid, but enough so they’re smooth and no longer resemble berries.
  5. In a small mixing bowl, add flax egg, almond milk/apple cider vinegar mixture, “honey,” apple sauce, sugar, and lavender extract. Stir until combined.
  6. Mix baking soda, baking powder, and flour together in a large mixing bowl.
  7. Stir the powders and flour until combined and then add the wet ingredients into the bowl.
  8. Fold in the blueberries.
  9. Spray donut pan with cooking spray.
  10. Spoon donut batter into pan cavities.
  11. Put into the oven. Make sure you have the pan on top of a regular cookie sheet in case there’s any spill over for any reason!
  12. Bake in oven for 10-12 minutes. You want them to be somewhat of a golden color.
  13. Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes.
  14. Place on a cooling rack to completely cool.

To make the glaze: 

  1. Heat almond milk with extracts in a small saucepan on low heat until warm, whisking occasionally so it doesn’t scorch.
  2. Slowly add powdered sugar and whisk until smooth.
  3. Dip donuts into glaze.
  4. Quickly add vegan sprinkles or dried lavender flowers before glaze sets!
  5. Om nom nom on them!

Some extra tips:

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blueberries

These are how my blueberries looked before I folded them in.

If you try the recipe, let me know how it goes! You can always contact me or comment about troubleshooting anything or getting some ideas how to tweak something (though I don’t guarantee they’ll work perfectly all the time). And if you make them for someone or something, or whatever, be sure to tell people where you found the recipe and about my blog 🙂 !!!