Vegan Healthier Pancakes

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Nearly a year ago, I shared my recipe for “buttermilk” pancakes and y’all loved ’em as much as I love ’em! But, for awhile now, I’ve been trying to come up with a healthier pancake recipe. Why? Because 75% of the time I try to watch my carbs and classic pancakes are pretty much just empty carbs -no bueno. So a healthier pancake recipe was a must but it certainly didn’t come easy.

I had my mind set on using coconut flour because it’s really low in carbs and high in fiber however, my beloved coconut flour can be a bit of a temperamental toddler at times. Issues plagued me. Try after try, I just couldn’t get it right. Then, while browsing around on the internet looking for different flours to give it a go with, I came across graham flour. Graham flour is like the slightly smarter cousin of whole wheat flour. It’s got less net carbs (carbs minus fiber) than its cousin and a few less calories too.

With my flour chosen I just needed to figure out how to boost the protein a little and for that I turned to peanut butter powder. Now, these aren’t peanut butter pancakes but you will taste just a very slight peanut butter flavor when you enjoy them. I think it compliments the taste of the graham flour nicely because the graham flour has a nutty element to it. One other thing I should mention, as it’s a key aspect of these being healthier pancakes, is that I chose to not add in any additional sugar to this recipe. (You do get a couple grams of sugar from the peanut butter powder but nothing significant.) I did this for a very specific reason. I love syrup on my pancakes (the cheap stuff) and syrup is pure sugar. There’s just no need for sugar to be added to the pancakes themselves when syrup, berries, and other sweet elements are likely to be added on top -that’s my thinkin’ anyway.

No matter if you’re just a fan of pancakes in general or are trying to, like me, eat a little healthier, you’re definitely going to want to give these hearty, healthier pancakes a try and they’re pretty easy to make too with just 8 ingredients!

It all gets started in a bowl where the graham flour gets whisked together with the peanut butter powder, some baking powder, baking soda, and a little salt.

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Once the dry ingredients have been thoroughly whisked, it’s time to add in the wet ingredients -unsweetened almond milk, Ener-G Egg Replacer for 2 eggs (made in advance), and a dash of vanilla. All of that loveliness gets whisked once more until combined and then it’s time to make some pancakes!

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Lightly grease your skillet or griddle and bring it up to low-med. heat. When the pan is hot, use a 1/4 cup measuring cup to scoop out a perfect amount of pancake batter onto the pan. Since this batter is a little thicker than most you might need to use the cup and/or a spoon to help smooth the batter out into the shape of a pancake.

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Cook the pancakes for 3-4 minutes on each side or until lightly golden brown on each side. Continue this process until all of the pancake batter has been turned into pancakes.

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To serve, slather ’em up with some vegan “butter,” drizzle with syrup, and maybe toss on some fresh berries too!

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Vegan Healthier Pancakes

  • Servings: 2-3
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Credit: Compassion is the Secret Ingredient, http://www.citsiblog.com

Ingredients

  • Ener-G Egg Replacer for 2 eggs (follow instructions on box)
  • 1 cup graham flour
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter powder (like PB2)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • Oil for pan

Directions

  1. If you haven’t done so already, make the Ener-G “eggs” following the instructions on the box. Once made, set the “eggs” aside for a moment. In a medium or large bowl, combine the graham flour, peanut butter powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together and whisk until smooth. Add in the “eggs” you made a moment ago along with the almond milk and vanilla. Whisk once more until combined.
  2. Lightly grease a skillet or griddle and bring it up to low-med. heat. When the pan is hot, use a 1/4 cup measuring cup to scoop out a perfect amount of pancake batter onto the pan. Since the batter will be a little thicker than most you might need to use the cup and/or a spoon to help smooth the batter out into the shape of a pancake.
  3. Cook the pancakes for 3-4 minutes on each side or until lightly golden brown. Continue scooping out the batter and cooking it until no batter remains. Pancakes will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.

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Vegan “Meatloaf”

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I’ve heard a lot of talk lately about meatloaf. Must be something in the air -or perhaps the fact that it’s a warm and comforting dish that’s perfect for cold winter nights. Either way, the meatloaf chronicles of late have had me thinking about my own “meatloaf” recipe.

It has been, shall we say, a bit of a nemesis of mine. The first time I made it, it was drier than dry. The second time? Flavorless. Every time the flavor was right then the texture/moisture was off, and every time the texture/moisture was right then the flavor would be off. After numerous failed attempts, I was tempted to admit defeat however, I’m not one who likes to be defeated least of which by a little ol’ “meatloaf.” I decided to give it one more go only this time I would completely ignore my now nearly illegible recipe and every single note that I had ever scribbled down about it -and there were a lot of damn notes. It was such a gamble but… it paid off! In going with my gut and relying on my knowledge, I had created a beautiful “meatloaf” that was not only flavorful but that also had the perfect “meaty” texture!

It all gets started at your stove. You’re going to need to cook up 1 cup of truRoots accents Sprouted Lentil Trio in accordance with the instructions on the back of the package. Once cooked, drain the lentils and then set them aside for just a moment while other ingredients get prepped.

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The other ingredients that need to be prepped are a can of black beans and the egg replacer. You’re going to rinse and drain the black beans then you’ll need to prepare the Ener-G Egg Replacer for 1 egg according to the instructions on the packaging. Now that all of the ingredients that need to be prepped have been prepped, it’s time to make the “meatloaf” mixture.

In a large bowl, all of the ingredients except for the vital wheat gluten get combined using an immersion blender. Don’t obsess over obliterating every little lentil and black bean but do try to at least get this mixture about 75% smooth.

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Once blended, add in the vital wheat gluten and stir to combine -don’t use your immersion blender for this step!

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Plop your “meatloaf” mixture down into a generously greased loaf pan and then smooth out the top so that it looks all pretty and even. Bake this goodness in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 35 minutes and then enjoy!

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Vegan 'Meatloaf'

  • Servings: 4
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Credit: Compassion is the Secret Ingredient, http://www.citsiblog.com

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of truRoots accents Sprouted Lentil Trio (cooked according to the instructions on package)
  • 1 (15.25 ounce) can of no salt added black beans, drained and rinsed
  • Ener-G Egg Replacer for 1 egg (follow instructions on box)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon reduced sodium tamari
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 teaspoon yellow mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 cup vital wheat gluten

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and prepare a metal loaf pan by generously greasing it. Set pan aside for a moment. Cook 1 cup of the truRoots accents Sprouted Lentil Trio, if you haven’t done so already, making sure to drain the lentils well when they’re done. Drain and rinse the black beans if you haven’t done so already. Also, prepare the Ener-G for 1 egg if you haven’t done so already.
  2. In a large bowl, using an immersion blender, combine the lentils, black beans, and “egg,” with all of the remaining ingredients except the vital wheat gluten. Don’t obsess over obliterating every little lentil and black bean with the immersion blender but do try to at least get this mixture about 75% smooth. Once about 75% smooth, add in the vital wheat gluten and stir to combine -don’t use the immersion blender for this step!
  3. Transfer the “meatloaf” mixture to the loaf pan you prepared earlier. Pat the mixture around the pan with a spoon or offset spatula to even it out and then smooth out the top. Bake uncovered for 35 minutes. When done, enjoy right away or store in an airtight container in your fridge for up to a week.

Vegan “Cheese” Crackers

 

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I live… shall we say… in a bit of a vegan bubble. My fridge and my pantry are always stocked with a fine selection of vegan dupes which makes me forget sometimes that I don’t live in a vegan world. This is both a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing because it means that I’m not missing out on anything that I love by being vegan. It also means that I’m not surrounded by cruelty constantly in my own home. But it’s also a curse because I’ll see chicken on a menu and for a split second I’ll assume that it simply must be Gardein or something because, in my little bubble, all chicken is “chicken.” #IfOnly

The other day at “Tarjeh” I experienced this very thing as I stood in front of a wall of cheese crackers that were on sale -note I said cheese and not “cheese.” For a moment I found myself trying to figure out which variety to get. Then, not 5 seconds later, I snapped out of my bubble and literally said out loud, “oh, none of these are vegan.”

Sure, you can find vegan versions of the crackers I was looking at but, on that particular day, there were none to be found. That’s the day this recipe was born. Necessity, as they say, is the… well, I don’t know how that saying goes but you know what I mean. I was hankerin’ for “cheese” crackers and so I made “cheese” crackers. Now, I feel as though I should interject a warning here: these things are highly addictive! They are crunchy, savory, salty, and so satisfying. They have not 1 but 4 different “cheeses” in the mix -plus, there’s some nooch in there too for even more “cheesy” flavor!

It all gets started in a large bowl where some melted “butter” gets mixed together with some softened (almost melted) “cream cheese,” and Ener-G Egg Replacer for 2 eggs.

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Once those things are all smooth then it’s time to add in some nooch, “cheddar” shreds, “mozzarella” shreds, “Parmesan” shreds, and a whole slew of seasonings. Look at all of that “cheesy” goodness! #HeartEyes

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Next comes the flours –coconut flour and all-purpose flour. I originally wanted to do all coconut flour, because it is super healthy for you (low-carb, high fiber, etc.), but found that I personally liked the crackers better with just a wee bit of all-purpose flour thrown in there too. After the flours have been mixed in it is time to actually make our dough look like crackers!

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Dust your clean counter top, or a pastry board, with a little all-purpose flour then you’re going to roll out your dough into a very thin sheet. Ideally, you’re aiming for the thickness of a traditional cracker which is around 2/16-3/16 of an inch thick. If you don’t get it thin enough then the edges of each cracker will be crispy but the middles will be kind of biscuit like so take your time with this part and do it right. If the dough begins to stick to the work surface, or the rolling pin, then it’s okay to add a little more flour as needed.

Once the dough has been rolled out, use a knife, pizza cutter, or ravioli wheel, to trim the dough down into a rectangular or square shape and then to cut that shape down into bite size pieces about an inch square in size. You could also use say… a mini fish cookie cutter… if you wanted to please the young’uns, or old’uns like me who still eat like young’uns, but this is completely optional! When the crackers have been cut out they can carefully be transferred with the help of a spatula to a parchment paper-lined sheet pan. (You don’t want them to touch but they can be pretty close to one another since they won’t really rise or spread during the baking process.) Continue to roll out whatever dough you have remaining, and cutting it into crackers, until you have all of your crackers cut out and then it’s time to bake ’em up!

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Pop your sheet pan into a preheated 450 degree oven and bake the crackers for about 5-8 minutes on each side. You’re looking for them to be pretty dark in color -almost burnt in some spots. When they’re done, transfer them to a cooling rack and allow them to cool completely before serving.

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Vegan 'Cheese' Crackers

  • Servings: 60-70 crackers
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Credit: Compassion is the Secret Ingredient, http://www.citsiblog.com

Ingredients

  • 1 stick of vegan “butter,” melted
  • 1/4 cup vegan “cream cheese,” softened in the microwave to the point where it’s slightly melted
  • Ener-G Egg Replacer for 2 eggs (follow instructions on box)
  • 1/4 cup nooch (nutritional yeast)
  • 3 tablespoons Daiya “cheddar” shreds
  • 3 tablespoons Daiya “mozzarella” shreds
  • 3 tablespoons Follow Your Heart “Parmesan” shreds
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/3 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried dill weed
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/8 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour + more for work surface and rolling pin

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Prepare a sheet pan by lining it with parchment paper. Set pan aside for a moment. In a large bowl combine the melted “butter” with the softened, slightly melted, “cream cheese,” and Ener-G Egg Replacer for 2 eggs (made in accordance with the instructions on the box). Beat or whisk until smooth then add in the nooch, “cheddar” shreds, “mozzarella” shreds, “Parmesan” shreds, garlic powder, salt, pepper, onion powder, dried dill weed, dried parsley, and paprika, and stir to combine. Lastly, add in the coconut flour and 2 tablespoon of all-purpose flour and work the dough to ensure each of the flours are fully incorporated.
  2. Dust your clean counter top, or a pastry board, with a little all-purpose flour then turn out your dough onto the surface and roll it out into a very thin sheet. Ideally, you’re aiming for the thickness of a traditional cracker which is around 2/16-3/16 of an inch thick. (If you don’t get it thin enough then the edges of each cracker will be crispy but the middles will be kind of biscuit like so take your time with this part and do it right.) If the dough begins to stick to the work surface, or the rolling pin, add a little more flour as needed.
  3. Once the dough has been rolled out, use a knife, pizza cutter, or ravioli wheel, to trim the dough down into a rectangular or square shape. Use the same tool to then cut that shape down into bite size pieces about an inch square in size. When the crackers have been cut out, carefully transfer them with the help of a spatula to the sheet pan you prepped earlier leaving about 1/4 of an inch between each cracker. Continue to roll out whatever dough you have remaining, and cutting it into crackers, until you have all of your crackers cut out.
  4. Bake the crackers in your preheated 450 degree oven for about 5-8 minutes on each side. You’re looking for them to be pretty dark in color on each side -almost burnt in some spots but mostly dark golden brown. When done, transfer the crackers to a cooling rack and allow them to cool completely before serving. Crackers will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Teresa’s Vegan Lime Cookies

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A little about my family… my mom grew up with 9 siblings which means that, although I rarely get to see them because most live far away, I have aunts, uncles, and cousins aplenty! With that said though, there’s one particular family member who stands out from them all and that is my aunt Teresa!

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It’s no secret that she’s my favorite and for good reason -she’s like a 2nd mom to me. We’re pen pals (yeah, people still do that), we Skype or text as frequently as we can, and whenever she’s in town we always laugh our butts off. So when it came around to figuring out what to get her for Christmas I couldn’t think of anything better than a recipe made in her honor. The gift of food is, in my opinion, one hell of a gift because food is love, food is time, and food is comfort. But shhh… this is our little secret for now, okay? Why? Because, as of this very moment, I haven’t had a chance to bake up another batch to send to her yet -Christmas came up on me so fast, y’all. She’ll get her gift soon enough though, I promise, but until then hush-hush!

Okay, so what recipe did I create to honor my aunt Teresa? Lime cookies! She absolutely loves anything lime and a cookie is easy enough to send in the mail versus say a cake or something like that. These cookies are the perfect balance of sweetness and tartness -they don’t shy away from the lime flavor! They’re a little crisp on the outside, tender and chewy on the inside, and have a crunch factor to them thanks to the addition of macadamia nuts. Refreshing and delicious, I’m sure they could be classified as a cure for the winter doldrums, plus they’re easy to make!

It all gets started with some wet ingredients! In a large bowl, 2 kinds of sugar along with some “butter,” lime juice, lime extract, and Ener-G get combined until smooth. The dry ingredients then get added, including of course some flour and lime zest, and then the whole thing gets stirred again to combine.

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Now it’s time to add in those glorious macadamia nuts. My grocery store only had whole macadamia nuts so I had to do a little chopping but, if you can find the chopped ones, get those and yo’self save some time. Obviously, if you aren’t a fan of this particular nut, or nuts in general, you could omit these but I personally think the cookie is better with them -cookies need varying textures generally to be good. If you wanted to you could also tweak this recipe a bit to include say some vegan white chocolate chips, or some coconut, if you wanted to go and get really crazy with it!

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Once the nuts have been thoroughly folded into the dough, the next step is to scoop out your cookies onto a large sheet pan that you’ve lined with parchment paper. I like to use a cookie scoop to make sure all of my cookies are the same size. (For these I used a 1.5″ cookie scoop which yielded me 31 cookies!) The dough gets baked off in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 10-12 minutes or until the bottoms are just ever so slightly starting to brown.

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When the cookies are done, let them rest for 2-3 minutes on the pan until they have firmed up just enough that they can be transferred with ease to a cooling rack where they can cool down the rest of the way.

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Teresa's Vegan Lime Cookies

  • Servings: about 31 (2.5-inch) cookies
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Credit: Compassion is the Secret Ingredient, http://www.citsiblog.com

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 stick of vegan “butter,” softened
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice (2 large limes should be able to provide this but be sure to zest the limes before you juice them because we will need their zest too!)
  • 2 tablespoons lime extract
  • Ener-G Egg Replacer for 1 egg (follow instructions on box)
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • Zest from 2 large limes
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped macadamia nuts

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare a sheet pan by lining it with parchment paper. Set pan aside for a moment. In a large bowl, combine the two sugars with the softened “butter,” lime juice, lime extract, and Ener-G. Stir or whisk until smooth. When smooth, add in the flour, lime zest, baking soda, and salt. Stir just until everything is combined then fold in the chopped macadamia nuts.
  2. Using a 1.5″ cookie scoop, scoop out the dough and place it onto the pan you prepared a moment ago leaving about 2-3 inches between each ball of cookie dough. Transfer the pan to your preheated 350 degree oven and bake the cookies for about 10-12 minutes or until the bottoms are just ever so slightly starting to brown.
  3. When the cookies are done, let them rest for 2-3 minutes on the pan to firm up enough to allow you to transfer them with ease to a cooling rack where they can cool down the rest of the way. Cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.

Vegan Apple Cinnamon Rolls With “Cream Cheese” Icing (Optional Overnight Instructions Included)

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Christmastime is all about traditions! One tradition my family holds near and dear is that, on Christmas Eve, a sweet treat is prepared to be enjoyed the following morning while opening presents. It’s always one of two things: donuts or cinnamon rolls. This year it will be the latter of those two and that recipe is what I’m going to be sharing with y’all today!

Now, of course, it’s hardly ever the same recipe from year to year whether it be donuts or cinnamon rolls. I am, after all, a person who likes to get creative in the kitchen. So this year, I decided to do cinnamon rolls with apples in them and a light, lovely “cream cheese” icing rather than a heavy frosting -although I do love a good frosting! The whole apples and cinnamon rolls combination thing is a match made in Heaven -which makes sense because pretty much every sweet apple recipe out there, including my own apple cake, has spices of some kind in it!

It all gets started with some warm water, white sugar, brown sugar, and a packet of yeast. These things get combined and then they get left alone for about 10 minutes so that the yeast can bloom. While the yeast is blooming, now is the perfect time to get some “butter” melted down -we’re gonna need 4 tablespoons of the stuff. It’s also a good time to prepare the Ener-G Egg Replacer, according to the instructions on the box, for 1 egg.

After the yeast has been allowed to bloom for about 10 minutes, the melted “butter” and the egg replacer you prepared a moment ago can get added along with a little apple cider vinegar and just a bit of salt. Stir to combine then it’s time to add some flour. You’re going to start with 2 cups of flour and then, should you need more (and you probably will), you’re going to add more flour, 2 tablespoons at a time. My dough required the 2 initial cups plus about 6 more tablespoons of flour to come together as you see below. When the dough has come together, place a towel over the bowl and set it somewhere to rise for 2 hours.

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After 2 hours has passed, grab a round cake pan and generously grease it. Set your prepared pan aside for a moment. Next, the green apples required for the rolls can be washed, peeled, cored, and then cut up into 1/4″-1/3″ cubes. Set these aside for a moment.

On a large pastry board or your clean and dry counter top, sprinkle out some flour and then turn out your dough. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough into a rectangular-ish shape about 9 inches wide and 13 inches long. Over top of your rolled out dough, room temperature “butter” gets smeared and then brown sugar gets sprinkled on. Then, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice join the party and, last but not least, the apple cubes you cut earlier get tossed into the mix. Once the apple cubes are on, give them a gentle pat with the palms of your hands so that they hunker down into the dough a little better.

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Beginning on the longer side closest to you, start rolling up the dough as tightly as you can without squishing everything out. Continue to roll the dough away from you until you have reached the end of the rectangular-ish shape. If the ends of this log o’ dough are perhaps a little thin or wonky, feel free to cut those off. To cut the rolls, cut the dough in half and then continue to halve the remaining sections until you have 8 even rolls cut.

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Place your rolls into the pan you prepared earlier and then cover them tightly with plastic cling wrap. If you’re making these beauties overnight, place the covered pan into your fridge and then, in the morning, remove the pan from the fridge and let the rolls rest on the counter for 1 hour prior to baking. If you want to enjoy these rolls on the same day, let them rest for 45-60 minutes on the counter, or until doubled, and then bake them off. Either way, the temperature and time remains the same -the oven should be preheated to 350 degrees and the rolls should bake for 25-28 minutes. When the rolls are done, they will need to cool slightly before you can ice them.

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Either while the rolls are baking or while they’re cooling slightly after baking, make the icing by combining “cream cheese” with almond milk, powdered sugar, and some vanilla in a bowl. Beat these ingredients together with a hand mixer and then, when ready to serve the cinnamon rolls, pour the icing on top of them evenly.

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Vegan Apple Cinnamon Rolls With 'Cream Cheese' Icing

  • Servings: 8
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Credit: Compassion is the Secret Ingredient, http://www.citsiblog.com

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed + 4 tablespoons brown sugar, packed (for filling)
  • 1 packet active dry original yeast
  • 4 tablespoons vegan “butter,” melted + 3 tablespoons vegan “butter,” room temperature (for filling)
  • Ener-G Egg Replacer for 1 egg (follow instructions on box)
  • 1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/4-2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (see step 2 for details) + more for rolling out dough
  • 1 1/2 green apples, washed, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/4″-1/3″ cubes
  • 2 generous teaspoons cinnamon
  • Nutmeg to taste
  • Cloves to taste
  • Allspice to taste
  • 4 tablespoon vegan “cream cheese”
  • 4 tablespoons unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, combine the warm water with white sugar, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, and yeast. Stir gently to combine then let this mixture rest for about 10 minutes so that the yeast can bloom. While the yeast is blooming, melt 4 tablespoons of “butter” and prepare the Ener-G, according to the instructions on the box for 1 egg, if you haven’t done these things already.
  2. After the yeast has been allowed to bloom, add to the yeast mixture the melted “butter,” prepared Ener-G, apple cider vinegar, and salt. Stir to combine. Add the flour to this liquid mixture starting with 2 cups. Should you need more (and you probably will), add more flour, 2 tablespoons at a time, until the dough comes together. (My dough required the 2 initial cups plus about 6 more tablespoons of flour.) When the dough has come together, place a towel over the bowl and set it somewhere to rise for 2 hours.
  3. After 2 hours has passed, grab a round cake pan and generously grease it. Set your prepared pan aside. Also, prepare the green apples required, if you haven’t done so already, by washing them, peeling them, coring them, and then cutting them up into 1/4″-1/3″ cubes. Set these aside for a moment. On a large pastry board or your clean and dry counter top, sprinkle out some flour and then turn out your dough. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough into a rectangular-ish shape about 9 inches wide and 13 inches long. Over top of your rolled out dough, 3 tablespoons of room temperature “butter” get smeared on. Next, sprinkle across the dough evenly 4 tablespoons of brown sugar, the cinnamon, and then the nutmeg, cloves, and allspice to taste. Lastly, the apple cubes go on. Give those a gentle pat with the palms of your hands so that they secure into the top of the dough a little.
  4. To roll the dough up, begin on the longer side closest to you and start rolling the dough away from you as tightly as you can without squishing everything out. Continue to roll the dough until you have reached the end of the rectangular-ish shape. If the ends of this dough roll are perhaps a little thin or wonky, feel free to cut those off. To cut the rolls, cut the dough roll in half and then continue to halve the remaining sections until you have 8 even rolls cut. Place your rolls into the pan you prepared earlier and then cover them tightly with plastic cling wrap.
  5. If baking the rolls the next day, place the covered pan into your fridge and then, in the morning, remove the pan from the fridge and let the rolls rest on the counter for 1 hour prior to baking -get the oven preheated while they are resting on the counter. If making the rolls on the same day, let the rolls rest in their covered pan at room temperature for 45-60 minutes, or until doubled in size, then bake them off. Whether making the next day or the same day, the temperature and time remains the same -the oven should be preheated to 350 degrees and the rolls should bake for 25-28 minutes. When the rolls are done, let them cool slightly outside of the pan for about 10-15 minutes before icing.
  6. Either while the rolls are baking or while they’re cooling slightly after baking, make the icing by combining “cream cheese” with almond milk, powdered sugar, and vanilla in a bowl. Beat these ingredients together with a hand mixer and then, when ready to serve the cinnamon rolls, pour the icing on top of them evenly. Cinnamon rolls will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. To reheat, if desired, microwave a single roll for 15-20 seconds.

Vegan Rich & Creamy Broccoli Soup

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I’m back!!!

Y’all, it’s been a crazy few weeks since I wrapped up my Thanksgiving recipe series. I took a little time off to move and unpack and then, just as I was getting settled in, I got hit with the worst cold I’ve ever had! #Yuck

While I was sick, there was only one thing that I was craving and that was soup. I didn’t have the strength to make some during that week of tissues and tears (big dramatic baby here) but, when it finally passed, I got my ass in the kitchen and made this luscious little dish to satisfy all of my cravings.

Now, believe it or not, there are quite a few people in this world who hate broccoli -my mom is one of them. I, on the other hand, am one of the rare few who loves broccoli. I wanted this soup to satisfy not only me but also the people who aren’t fans of this particular veg. To accomplish this, I built a nice, rich, savory base which has things like vegetable broth, roasted garlic, potatoes, and something called Vegeta in it. The flavor of the broccoli, thanks to this base, becomes subtle enough for the haters but complimented nicely enough for the lovers like me. I then made everything good and smooth so that nobody would end up with a mouthful of broccoli chunks but rather a spoonful of creamy goodness. My mom ate a big bowl of it and said, “You know I hate broccoli but I actually like this soup.” Yes, folks, I think I hit the nail right on the head.

It all gets started with a head of garlic -how can anything with a head of garlic in it be bad?! About an hour before you wish to start making this soup, go into your kitchen, grab a big ol’ head of garlic, and chop of the top 1/4-1/3 of the head to expose the cloves inside. Peel off some of the looser outer papery layers and then pop the head onto a piece of foil. Drizzle into and over the head about 2-3 tablespoons of oil and then squish the foil up and closed around the head to enclose it completely. Place your little packet of deliciousness onto a small sheet pan and then bake it in a preheated 400 degree oven for 45 minutes. When done, allow it to cool for about 15 minutes so that you can retrieve the cloves without burning yourself. Set the cloves, and any oil that remains in the foil packet, aside for a moment.

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With your roasted garlic done, you can begin the actual soup making process -and what an easy process it is! Rough dice half of a yellow onion and get it into a large pot, with a little oil in it, over medium heat. (I love making soups, or anything really, in an enameled cast iron dutch oven but if you don’t have one of these then don’t worry because any large pot will do.) Cook the onions for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned.

While the onions are cooking, cut up 2 large, peeled russet potatoes into small cubes no bigger than a half of an inch wide. Set the cubed potatoes aside for just a moment until we’re ready for them.

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After the onions have browned slightly, the potatoes you cubed a moment ago get tossed in along with vegetable broth, water, a can of drained and rinsed white beans, a whole bunch of seasonings, and the roasted garlic you made earlier along with any oil that remained in the foil packet. Stir to combine then bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes then reduce the heat just a bit and allow the soup to soft boil for 5 minutes. Next, 2 bags of frozen broccoli florets get added and then the lid goes on. Continuing soft boiling, covered this time, for about 10 more minutes.

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When the potatoes are tender, add in some of your favorite “cheddar” shreds and a little nooch (nutritional yeast). Stir to combine then it’s time to make this soup creamy!

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Turn the heat off and then, using an immersion blender, blend until no lumps or chunks remain. Be sure to keep the blender straight up and down, and submerged when on, because we’re dealing with hot liquid here and we don’t want to splash it on ourselves. #LessonILearnedTheHardWay

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When it is as smooth as can be, serve with just a bit more “cheddar” on top and some crusty bread on the side (optional).

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Vegan Rich & Creamy Broccoli Soup

  • Servings: 6-8
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Credit: Compassion is the Secret Ingredient, http://www.citsiblog.com

Ingredients

  • 1 large head of garlic + 2-3 tablespoons oil
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1/2 of a yellow onion, rough diced
  • 2 large russet potatoes, washed, peeled, and small diced
  • 1 (32 ounce) box of vegetable broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 (15 ounce) can reduced sodium or no salt added white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 tablespoon Vegeta
  • 3/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon reduced sodium tamari
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 (10 ounce) bags of frozen broccoli florets
  • 3/4 cup “cheddar” shreds + more for garnishing (optional)
  • 1/4-1/3 c. nutritional yeast
  • Bread bowls to serve in or crusty bread to serve with (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Chop of the top 1/4-1/3 of the garlic head to expose the cloves inside. Peel off some of the looser outer papery layers and then pop the head onto a piece of foil. Drizzle the oil in and over the head then squish the foil up and closed around the head to enclose it completely. Place the foil packet onto a small sheet pan and then bake for 45 minutes. When done, allow it to cool for about 15 minutes so that you can retrieve the cloves without burning yourself. Set the cloves, and any oil that remains in the foil packet, aside for use in a moment.
  2. In a large pot over medium heat, add in oil and rough diced onion half. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes or until the onions are lightly browned. While the onions are cooking, cut up the 2 large, washed and peeled russet potatoes into small cubes no bigger than a half of an inch wide, if you haven’t already done so. Set the cubed potatoes aside for just a moment until we’re ready for them.
  3. After the onions have browned slightly, add in the potatoes along with the vegetable broth, water, white beans, Vegeta, sugar, tamari, garlic powder, black pepper, salt, and the roasted garlic you made earlier along with any oil that remained in the foil packet. Stir to combine then bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes then reduce the heat just a bit and  soft boil for 5 minutes.
  4. Add in the frozen broccoli florets, stir to combine, then cover the pot and continuing soft boiling for about 10 more minutes until the potatoes are tender and the florets are warmed through.
  5. Turn the heat off then, using an immersion blender, blend so that no lumps or chunks remain. Be sure to keep the blender straight up and down, and submerged when on, to avoid splashing the hot soup around. When smooth, serve with just a bit more “cheddar” on top and some crusty bread on the side (optional). Soup will keep in an airtight container in fridge for up to 4 days.

Week 6: Vegan Spice Loaf Cake with Orange “Cream Cheese” Frosting & Vegan Maple-Caramel Pecan Pie – Facebook Poll Question Winner – A Compassion is the Secret Ingredient Thanksgiving

It’s the final week of my Thanksgiving recipe series, y’all! I hope that you’ve enjoyed this series as much as I’ve enjoyed doing it. Remember, if you make any or all of the recipes I’ve shared, be sure to post a pic on social media and tag it with the hashtag for this series (#aCITSIthanksgiving) so that I can see your beautiful Thanksgiving feasts. Okay now, it’s time to talk desserts!

No Thanksgiving menu is complete, in my mind, unless there’s a pie, which I’ll get to a little further down in this post however, I want to talk about another dessert first. You see, while I feel that a pie is obligatory, I also feel that a non-pie dessert is obligatory too. For the non-pie dessert this year, I decided to do a loaf cake. This gingerbread-esque cake is loaded with the spices of the season (cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger) and is topped with a refreshing orange “cream cheese” frosting!

It all gets started with the combining of the wet ingredients. Once those have been thoroughly whisked together then the dry ingredients (including all of those lovely spices) get added. When the cake batter is smooth it gets poured into a greased and floured loaf pan then popped into a preheated oven where it will bake for about an hour.

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While the cake is baking up, you can make the orange “cream cheese” frosting. In a stand mixer, or in a bowl using a hand mixer, equal parts of vegan “cream cheese” and vegan “butter” are combined with a little bit of fresh squeezed orange juice. Once smooth, turn the mixer down to low and add in the powdered sugar, 1/4 cup at a time, until the frosting reaches a firmer, buttercream-like consistency.

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When the cake is done, let it cool completely before frosting it. Over top of the frosted cake I like to sprinkle a light dusting of cinnamon as well as some orange zest which, as you might notice, is missing from the final photo below as I accidentally tossed my orange zest down the sink! Hot tip: don’t toss your orange zest down the sink. (But do toss it on this cake!)

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Vegan Spice Loaf Cake With Orange 'Cream Cheese' Frosting

  • Servings: 8-10
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Credit: Compassion is the Secret Ingredient, http://www.citsiblog.com

Ingredients

  • Nonstick cooking spray + flour for pan
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 (4-ounce) snack cup of unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1/4 cup vegan “butter,” melted + 2 1/2 tablespoons for frosting, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 3/4 tablespoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/3 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons vegan “cream cheese”
  • 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
  • About 1 3/4 cups powdered sugar
  • Zest from 1 orange + cinnamon for dusting over frosted cake (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Prepare a loaf pan for use in a moment by spraying the inside with nonstick cooking spray then coating it with a light dusting of flour. In a large bowl, whisk together the almond milk, brown sugar, applesauce, oil, 1/4 cup melted “butter,” and the vanilla. When smooth, add in the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, baking powder, ginger, baking soda, and salt. Whisk until smooth again then pour cake batter into prepared loaf pan and bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
  2. While cake is baking, make the frosting. In a stand mixer, or in a bowl where you’ll use a hand mixer, combine 2 1/2 tablespoons softened “butter” with 2 1/2 tablespoons  “cream cheese” and 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice. Beat until smooth then reduce speed to low and add in the powdered sugar, 1/4 cup at a time, until the frosting reaches a firmer, buttercream-like consistency.
  3. When cake is done, let it cool completely before frosting it. After frosting the cake, lightly dust the top of it with some more cinnamon and the zest from 1 orange (optional). Finished cake can be kept in an airtight container in fridge for up to 4 days -just be sure to bring the cake back up to room temperature before serving.


And now, my dears, it’s time for pie!

I asked y’all in a poll on Facebook how you liked your pecan pie to be made, in pie form, in cake form, in cookie form, etc., and overwhelmingly people picked “in pie form.” I too love pecan pie as an actual pie but I wanted to do a slightly different take on this southern classic to make it something truly special for this series. What was that different take? Well, traditional pecan pie filling has a lot of corn syrup in it but I opted for a decent amount of maple syrup instead. The maple syrup offers up more flavor than the corn syrup and it also changes the texture of the pie. The normal texture of a pecan pie is kind of gelatinous and gloppy but the texture of this pecan pie is creamy, ooey, gooey, and caramel-like (see picture below). I’ve made and enjoyed a lot of pecan pies over the years but this is seriously the best and it couldn’t be easier to make!

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For this pie, you’re going to use your favorite premade (and vegan) pie crust or make your own using one of the many wonderful vegan pie crust recipes all over the internet! Pop your pie crust into a 9-inch glass pie pan (if not glass then the oven temperature will need to be increased by 25 degrees). Poke the crust with a fork so that it is less likely to puff or rise during the baking process then set the pie pan in the fridge so that the crust remains as cool as possible until baking -this allows for a flakier pie crust. Now, it’s time to make the filling for our pie.

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To make the filling for our pie you’ll combine egg replacer (Ener-G) with maple syrup, brown sugar, a little bit of corn syrup, some vegan “butter,” flour, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt in a saucepan over medium-high heat. While whisking occasionally to ensure a smooth filling, bring the mixture to a soft (not roaring) boil. Once boiling, boil for 2 1/2 minutes then reduce the heat to simmer the pie filling for another 2 1/2 minutes -continue to whisk occasionally throughout this time. When the final 2 1/2 minutes has passed, turn off the heat and let the mixture rest for a moment while we move on to the next step.

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Remove the pie pan from your fridge and toss into the crust 1 1/2 cups of pecans -I prefer a combo of pecan halves and chopped pecans however you can do just halves or just chopped pecans if you prefer. Next, carefully (because we’re dealing with hot stuff here) pour the pie filling that you made a moment ago over the pecans. Place the pie into a preheated 325 degree oven and bake for an hour.

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When the pie is done, it will be somewhat giggly still but don’t let that worry you as it will finish setting up as it cools. Place the pie pan onto a cooling rack and allow it to cool completely (preferably overnight) before serving.

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Vegan Maple-Caramel Pecan Pie

  • Servings: 10
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Credit: Compassion is the Secret Ingredient, http://www.citsiblog.com

Ingredients

  • Pie crust of your choosing for a 9-inch pie pan
  • Ener-G Egg Replacer for 3 eggs, prepared according to instructions on Ener-G box
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 3 tablespoons vegan “butter”
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups pecans, halves or chopped or a mixture of the two styles

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees if using a glass pie pan or 350 degrees if using any other pie pan. Prepare the Ener-G for 3 eggs, if you haven’t done so already, in accordance with the instructions on the box then set this mixture aside for a moment. Put the pie crust of your choosing into your 9-inch pie pan then trim it to fit and poke the crust with a fork so that it is less likely to puff or rise during the baking process. Place the pie pan in fridge so that the crust remains as cool as possible until baking. Move on to making the pie filling.
  2. To make the pie filling, combine in a saucepan over medium-high heat the Ener-G you prepared a moment ago with the maple syrup, brown sugar, corn syrup, “butter,” flour, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt. While whisking occasionally to ensure a smooth filling, bring the mixture to a soft (not roaring) boil. Once boiling, boil for 2 1/2 minutes then reduce the heat to simmer for another 2 1/2 minutes, still whisking occasionally. When the final 2 1/2 minutes has passed, turn off the heat and let the mixture rest for a moment.
  3. Remove the pie pan from your fridge and toss into the crust 1 1/2 cups of pecans -I prefer a combo of pecan halves and chopped pecans however you can do just halves or just chopped pecans if you prefer. Next, carefully (because it’s hot) pour the pie filling that you made a moment ago over the pecans. Place the pie into your preheated oven and bake for 1 hour. When the pie is done, it will be somewhat giggly still but don’t let that worry you as it will finish setting up as it cools. Place the pie pan onto a cooling rack and allow it to cool completely (preferably overnight) before serving. Finished pie will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.