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Blueberry Muffins

This is a truly fantastic muffin recipe.  I’ve had this recipe for years, though I can’t remember who exactly first wanted muffins from me that prompted me to find it.  The recipe is adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction, a blog that has (non-vegan) recipes that I’ve adapted to make vegan.  This recipe has also been successful gluten-free.

Once you get these bad boys out of the oven, they will be hard to resist.  I’ve made them with blueberries on cold Saturday mornings, smothered with butter, with gooey chocolate chips Sunday evenings when I needed something sweet, with a squeeze of orange juice and some cranberries for a during-the-week pick me up…the possibilities are endless and delicious!

The secret to this recipe is that the muffins bake at 425 for 5 minutes, then you drop the temperature down to 375 and continue baking. I’m telling you, they will be hard to stop eating.

Jumbo Berry Muffins                                       Makes 6 jumbo muffins, 15-16 regular, 30 mini

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 eggs (I use Ener-G)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup milk (I use vanilla almond milk)
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 ½ cup berries or whatever else you want to mix in

Instructions:

  • Preheat the oven at 425.
  • Combine flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in a large bowl.
  • Whisk eggs and sugar separately in a smaller bowl.
  • Mix in milk, oil, and vanilla into eggs and sugar.
  • Fold wet into dry.
  • Fold in berries.  Pour in tins, sprinkle with sugar.
  • Bake at 425 for 5 minutes
  • Reduce oven to 375 and bake for 25 minutes.

And, of course, the two pop culture references to muffins that ran through my brain during this whole post:

1a67dc36dbaecbcd990d2341108d1359                              muffin-top

Top of the Muffin To You!                                           Muffin Top

Updated Website!

Check out my newly improved updated website!

vegan

Click the pic above to see the new site!

Here you will see all of the items I offer for purchase!  Hope you like it!

Vegan Brown Butter Blondies

I’ve never been a big brownie person.  There. I said it.

Brownies, for me, feel like an all or nothing game.  Either you love them, can’t get enough of them, gotta have them, or you just feel “eh” about them. For me, it was just too much of the same soft textured, chocolate fudge overload.

Enter the blondie. For a non-brownie lover like myself, the blondie is a perfect compromise. You still get the fudgy brownie part, but with a crispy top and the perfect balance of chocolate to vanilla.  I found this recipe for brown butter blondies on one of my favorite food websites, Food52.com.  I was intrigued by the promise of a nutty, buttery flavor and gooey marbled chocolate.  It doesn’t disappoint.  I made these vegan with a chia egg and non-dairy substitutes.  Hope you like it.

vegan blondies

The only time I prefer blonde to brunette.

Vegan Brown Butter Blondies (via Food52.com)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Earth Balance
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 heaping teaspoon of salt
  • 6 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons of whole chia seeds
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 ¾ cup brown sugar (light or dark is fine)
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 8×8 baking pan

Steps:

1. Heat the oven to 350.  Prepare your 8×8 pan by pressing a piece of aluminum foil into it, leaving some to hang over the sides.  Set aside.

2. Prepare the chia eggs:

In a Vitamix, blender, or grinder, combine the 6 tablespoons of water with the 2 tablespoons of chia seeds. This equals 2 eggs. Blend until fully combined: the chia seeds will break down, the mixture will be gray, and the consistency is gooey.  Set aside.

3.  On top of the stove, melt the butter in a medium sauce pan. Swirl it around a few times.  The butter will foam and spatter.  Cook on medium heat until the butter starts to smell nutty and brown, about 3-5 minutes.  The Earth Balance takes a bit longer to brown than regular butter, so stick with it and watch it carefully. The butter is ready when the sizzling quiets down and becomes foamy, and you see brown bits in the butter.  Remove from heat and carefully pour the butter into a large bowl.

4. Whisk together flour and salt in a small bowl.  In another bowl, mix chia eggs and vanilla. Set both aside.

5. Add brown sugar to the butter. Mix with a wooden spoon. Add the chia egg/vanilla mixture to the butter/sugar. Mix until combined and shiny.

6. Add the flour mixture to the butter/sugar/chia mixture.  Mix until just combined.  Add the chocolate chips.  Mix until combined, but be careful not to overmix. Pour dough into baking pan and spread out evenly with the back of your wooden spoon.

7. Bake for 25-35 minutes.  According to Food52: “You can’t do the toothpick test with this because it will always come out clean.  Instead, look for a crispy top that’s just starting to crack [and] firm slightly-browned edges. And when you press on the center, you don’t want it to feel really soft.  Don’t stress.  You can always throw it back in later.  Just know that once it’s cool, it will firm up quite a bit.”

8. Remove from the oven. Cool completely before removing from the pan.  You can lift the aluminum foil right out.

Vegan Chocolate Peanut Butter Squares

Today I thought I’d share one of the best things I make.  It is by far my best seller, and people all over, vegan and not, rave about this dessert.

The most amazing bite you'll ever take.

The most amazing bite you’ll ever take.

The funniest part is that it all happened by accident.  My mom’s colleague’s birthday was approaching one day this past summer, and my mom wanted me to make her something nice.  She casually mentioned that she loved chocolate and peanut butter, but the rest was up to me.  So I did some searching and found the following recipe from a great blog, Once Upon a Chef.  (as of right now, the recipe is off the site, but soon to return.)  I’ve changed it a bit from the original recipe: I’ve made it vegan, changed the original chocolate crust to my graham cracker one, and I have made it in both square and pie form.

vegan chocolate peanut butter square

Don’t you want to just dive face first?

The rest is history.  My peanut butter squares have been reviewed by a blogger “Confessions of a Northern Belle”, was the first dessert to sell out at my booth at a carnival this September, and I’ve found that it’s the easiest of all my desserts to ship across the country in my Etsy Shop.

One other thing to note:  there are a lot of steps to this dessert, but once it’s all prepared, it’s really about just about layering on each part. Let me tell you, though: it is TOTALLY worth it.

So here you go.  Give it a try, see what you think.  I mean, how could you go wrong??! It’s CHOCOLATE and PEANUT BUTTER.

vegan, gluten free, peanut butter, chocolate

You can make these gluten free and soy free, too!

Ingredients:

-One 8×8 square pan (for squares) or a 9” round cake pan (for pie), greased.

Crust:

-6 tablespoons butter

-an entire sleeve of graham crackers (or 8 full graham crackers)

-¼ cup granulated sugar

Chocolate Layer:

-1 cup of chocolate, melted

-1-2 tablespoons nondairy milk

Peanut butter layer:

-1-⅓ cup peanut butter (I use salted creamy peanut butter.  If using unsalted, add a pinch or ⅛ teaspoon of salt).

-2 cups powdered sugar

-6 tablespoons butter

-6 tablespoons brown sugar

-1 teaspoon vanilla

*NOTE: to make these gluten free, use gluten free graham crackers.  I have used Enjoy Life’s Honey Vanilla Graham Crackers (though not vegan) and I’ve thought about using animal crackers as well. I’ve also substituted coconut oil for the butter in the crust, which works pretty well.  It does have a strong coconut flavor.

*I have made this recipe soy free and corn free as well.  I used Enjoy Life’s chocolate chips for the chocolate layer and organic powdered sugar from Whole Foods, which uses tapioca starch instead of cornstarch for the peanut butter layer.

Steps:

  1. Prepare the crust:

Preheat your oven to 350. In a food processor (or with your hands) crumble an entire sleeve of graham crackers so that all pieces are uniform crumbs.  Then add the butter and sugar and pulse until combined.  Press the graham cracker mixture into the greased pan.  I like to use the bottom of a measuring cup or Pyrex to flatten out the crust and make sure all areas are even. This makes for pretty, evenly layered bars. Bake for 8 minutes, or until golden brown.

      2.  Prepare the peanut butter mixture:

While the crust is cooling, prepare your peanut butter mixture.  Mix all ingredients together with either a hand mixer or standing mixer.  You can try and mix by hand, but it’s pretty difficult once the peanut butter starts to get incorporated.  Mix until incorporated. The peanut butter will form large clumps. Keep in the refrigerator until crust is cooled.

      3.  Prepare the chocolate ganache:

Once the crust is fully cooled, melt your chocolate with the nondairy milk.  I’ve used both a double boiler and the microwave, and I find the microwave to be easier, but it’s up to you. If you’re using the microwave, microwave the chocolate at 30 second intervals, mixing after each round and being careful not to burn the chocolate (you may even want to do 15 second intervals).

      4.  Put it all together!

Start by taking about a half cup of the chocolate ganache and smoothing it onto the crust.  You want a thin layer (this is what binds the peanut butter layer to your crust.)  Put the crust in the freezer for about 10 minutes, until the chocolate hardens.

Once it hardens, press your peanut butter mixture onto the chocolate layer.  You want to make sure that the peanut butter is even all over. I usually bring back that measuring cup or Pyrex to even it out.

Then, pour the rest of your chocolate ganache onto the peanut butter, again making sure that you have an even layer.  We are not only going for taste, but beauty, people!

Finally, let everything set in the refrigerator anywhere from a half hour to an hour, or until the chocolate on top hardens.  Cut into squares or wedges and serve.

And that’s it!  This dessert keeps very well in the fridge, or as I said earlier, is great frozen.  I like to eat them in half-frozen chunks, though boyf prefers them in the fridge.  Either way, these squares won’t be around long enough for it to matter. Enjoy!

New Year, New Look!

Happy New Year!  (It’s still close enough to January 1 that I can say that, right?)

This year I am making a few resolutions:

 

  1. Watch less TV, take part in more hobbies. What hobbies would I do, you ask? I want to learn to play my brand new guitar, bake desserts/items I have never made before, learn to paint/draw, finish my craft projects, exercise more, (the list goes on and on…there’s so much to do!)

      2.   Blog more!  As a co-worker pointed out in December, I am not super consistent in my blogging.             I want to change that-I’m going to set aside some time each week to bake new items and                    report back on how they turned out.

      3.   And that leads me to my final resolution: include recipes on my blog posts! I have had a few                requests from followers to share my recipes, and I had been shy to do so, thinking that                        someone would try to out-bake/outsell me. Putting that fear aside, I’m now going to share what            I’ve got so you can try them at home, too!

In addition to adding recipes, I’ve updated the look of my blog.  Most of the features are still the same, except now I’m going to have a recipe index where you can find the recipes I post more quickly.

Hope you like the new look!  Check back tomorrow for my first recipe!  What’s it going to be??? Here’s a hint…

vegan chocolate peanut butter square

My famous peanut butter squares!

Vitamix Fever!

About a month ago, my family and I pooled our money and bought Boyf a Vitamix for his birthday.

Aw, happy birthday, boyf!

Aw, happy birthday, Boyf!

I thought it was nice that I was able to crowd-fund my family to make the purchase, but this gesture was even more awesome because Boyf has been dying for a Vitamix for AT LEAST 4 years.  Every time we’ve gone to a food festival in the past few years, there was always someone demo-ing the Vitamix.  Now that we are grown ups and belong to Costco, there often is someone demo-ing there, too.  Boyf and I have always tasted the smoothies, soup, and ice cream the person made in minutes, and we always walked away saying, “one of these days….” or “someday we’ll have the money….”.  Well my friends, that day came.

I think this photo is funny and creepy.

In the past month, Boyf and I have developed Vitamix Fever. I mean, seriously, what can’t you make with the Vitamix?

In the last four weeks, Boyf has made hummus and salsa from scratch, he has chopped veggies for salad in SECONDS, and made smoothies and juices galore.  All delicious, all super easy.  Gosh, I should sell one of these things.

One recent cold winter night, Boyf and I were in the mood for soup.  We looked up some recipes, and decided on potato and leek soup.  Mark Bittman has a great vegan recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons butter or EVOO
  • 3 medium potatoes peeled and cubed
  • 3 leeks, sliced into thin rings
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 cups stock (we used veggie)
  • (We also put in a few carrots and onions)

Steps:

  1. Put the butter or oil in a large deep pot over medium heat until hot.
  2. Add veggies, salt, and pepper until the veggies begin to soften.
  3. Add stock, and cook until veggies are tender about 20 minutes.

THAT’S IT!  Bittman does say that you can puree the soup in a blender or with an immersion blender if you want it creamy, so Boyf and I threw it into the Vitamix.

The results?

vegan potato leek

                                                                                mmm…soup. You gotta try this. 

Oh. My. Goodness.  Amazing. The soup was smooth, full of flavor, and super filling…it warmed me from the inside out and definitely hit the spot.

The best part? It was so easy!  The whole pot of soup fit into the Vitamix so I didn’t have to do multiple batches, the Vitamix blades spun so fast that it kept the soup hot, and the clean up was a breeze!  (hm…maybe I really should become a salesperson…)

One of my friends from work told me that I’m just in the honeymoon phase of the Vitamix and that I should see if I love it as much as I do now this time next year.  I think: no problem.  I will keep you posted.

Have you ever made anything great in a Vitamix?  Let me know!

Keep the peanut butter coming!

Made these last night to satisfy two different orders. One batch was my regular vegan peanut butter squares, and one batch I figured out how to make not only gluten free, but soy free as well! Enjoy your Wednesday and check out these amazing peanut butter squares on my etsy shop!
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