Thursday, December 5th, 2013

Cinnamon Syrup

It has been so long since I have used maple flavored corn syrup for pancakes, so I can’t really compare this recipe to the usual pancake topping out there. We have used homemade jam and pure maple syrup for pancakes and crepes and loved them. I don’t miss the feeling that I get from eating corn syrup or high fructose corn syrup, but I do love different toppings on breakfast food. When I saw this recipe and that it was corn syrup free, I knew I had to try it.

The recipe is as easy as it looks. It was fast and simple and it was delicious. All of my family raved about it and requested that we have it again. It is definitely not healthy since it is made from refined sugar, but it is slightly less sugary than the corn syrup stuff. I made a double batch and it has lasted fine in the refrigerator. This was especially yummy on Pumpkin Waffles.

This recipe comes from A.S.G. on Allrecipes.

Cinnamon Syrup

1/2 c. white sugar

1/2 c. brown sugar

2 tbsp. flour

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 tsp. vanilla

1 c. water

In a small sauce pan, stir together the white and brown sugars. Add the flour and cinnamon and stir. Mix in the vanilla and water and stir. Turn heat on to medium and bring to a boil. Keep it cooking at a low boil and stir until it is thick like regular corn syrup. This took about 10 minutes. Let it cool a little and you will notice it gets even thicker, so turn off the heat a little earlier than you think you might need to.



Monday, October 7th, 2013

Pumpkin Muffins

I know a lot of my posts lately have been about baking yummy muffins and bread, but it is the season when the hot weather is finally gone and the kitchen calls me. These muffins are really like eating dessert, because they are that good. Super moist, but, once again, without all the oil! Lower amount of sweetener too. No less delicious though. I also made these into mini bread loaves and they worked out perfectly.

Pumpkin Muffins

1 3/4 c. all-purpose flour

1 1/4 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

3/4 tsp. nutmeg

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 c. pumpkin

1/3 c. apple puree (applesauce would work too)

1/4 c. canola oil

1/3 c. coconut milk

1/3 c. sucanat

1/3 c. pure maple syrup

1/3 c. coconut

1/2 c. walnuts, chopped (optional)

1/3 c. chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 12 cup muffin pan.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon.

In a separate small bowl, add the pumpkin, apple puree, oil, coconut milk, sucanat, and maple syrup and mix well.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until the flour is just barely mixed in.

Stir in the coconut, and the nuts and chocolate if using them.

Spoon into the muffin pan until 3/4 full.

Bake for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.


Monday, September 30th, 2013

Sesame Noodle Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti squash is so delicious and so fun because it is very versatile. I know lots of people eat it with spaghetti sauce, and I love it steamed just with salt and pepper, but because I like to try new ideas, I saw a version of this and knew it would be good. I love the sesame flavor, but don’t really need the calories of the pasta noodles that usually come along with a sesame dish, so the spaghetti squash is such a fabulous substitute in this recipe. The green onions, edamame, and toasted sesame seeds really add to this. Next time I might experiment with adding more vegetables. If you have spaghetti squash already cooked, this is a super fast and easy dish to put together.

Sesame Noodle Spaghetti Squash

1/2 of a large spaghetti squash, cooked (either sliced and steamed or baked whole and then seeds removed)

2 tsp. grated ginger

2 tsp. minced garlic

2 tbsp. sesame oil

3 tbsp. tamari (soy sauce will work too)

2 tbsp. rice vinegar

1/4 cup sliced green onions

1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds

1/2 cup steamed edamame

Optional ingredients

1 tsp. hot chili oil


1 tsp. siriacha sauce

Gather the cooked spaghetti squash into a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the ginger, garlic, tamari, rice vinegar, and the sesame oil. Add the chili oil or siriacha sauce if desired. Pour this over the squash and stir gently until well combined. Top with the green onions, sesame seeds, and edamame. Serve hot!

Friday, September 27th, 2013

Banana Chocolate Swirl Bread

banana swirl bread small not auto

I found this great recipe the other day. The original recipe is great, but I lowered the fat and sweetener to make it a little healthier and it is still delicious. One of the great things about banana bread, is that the smashed banana works great as a substitute for some of the oil anyway, so it is already low in fat. So much better than a lot of quickbread recipes that have one cup of oil! Yikes!

Banana Chocolate Swirl Bread

1 1/2 cup banana, smashed

1 1/4 cup sucanat

2 tsp. pure vanilla

3 tbsp. canola oil

2/3 cup almond milk (or milk of your choice)

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

6 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa

3/4 cup boiling water (divided)

1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 8 x 4 loaf pan and I had enough to make 3 miniature loaf pans as well. These would also make great muffins. I lightly grease and then lightly flour the pans so the loaves come out very easily.

I used a food processor to smash the banana. If you don’t have a food processor, it is fine to smash it with a fork in a large bowl. Add the sucanat, vanilla, oil, and milk. Blend well.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, soda, and salt. Then add this to the wet ingredients. Stir just until the flour is absorbed. Be careful not to overmix so the bread is not tough.

In a small bowl, mix 6 tbsp. of the boiling water with the 6 tbsp. cocoa. I added in a little more water to mix it until it is smooth. Now take out about 1 1/2 cups of the batter and put it in another bowl. Add the cocoa mixture to this batter and stir until just combined.

Add the remaining 3 tbsp. of boiling water to the rest of the banana batter. If using the walnuts, add them now. Stir until just combined.

Now alternate scooping spoonfuls of chocolate batter with banana batter into the loaf pans. Fill the pans to 3/4 full. Use a knife to swirl the batters together. It will look random, but don’t worry, it taste delicious.

Put the pans into the oven and bake for about 50-55 minutes for a big loaf pan, and 25 minutes for the miniature loaf pans. If a toothpick comes out cleam, the bread is done. Wait for about 10 minutes before using a knife to go around the perimeter of the pan and then turn the pan upside down and dump out the bread. Enjoy warm!


Thursday, September 19th, 2013

Vegan Carmelized Pear Muffins

vegan pear muffin flower small

With all the fresh fruit around, it has been so fun finding new ways to use it. My family loves fresh pears and peaches and we eat them for dessert regularly. Sometimes for a special treat we cut them up and add a scoop of granola and pour milk on top, or just a scoop of vegan ice cream, but this recipe I found on KEEPIN’ IT KIND, is our new favorite muffin. This is not just an ordinary muffin recipe, this is a bit of heaven in your hand, and your kids will beg for them like they are dessert! Just try to stay away from them on your own and you have a challenge. The original recipe was not vegan, so just a small change was all it took. I also added some walnuts and decreased the sweet and oil just a little too. One of the reasons that I wanted to try this recipe is that one of the ingredients is coconut sugar. I had purchased some a while back and had not ever had the excuse to try it out, so I thought this was a good chance for something new. I doubled this recipe to put some in the freezer and that was a good idea, but they are too yummy and getting some to the freezer before they were eaten was a challenge.

Vegan Carmelized Pear Muffins

Wet Ingredients

1 c. almond milk (other milks would work fine too)

1 tsp. apple cider vinegar

1/4 c. canola oil (the original recipe calls for coconut oil)

2 tsp. vanilla extract

1/3 c. coconut sugar

Dry Ingredients

2 c. whole wheat pastry flour

1 tbsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

Pear Mixture

3 bartlet pears, cored and sliced thin

1 tbsp. Earth Balance

4 tbsp. coconut sugar

1/2 c. walnuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and prepare a 12 cup muffin tin.

Begin by adding the apple cider vinegar to the almond milk and let it sit for 10 minutes, so it turns to buttermilk.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.

I used a cast iron pan on medium heat to melt the Earth Balance and coconut sugar together. Add the sliced pears and cook, reducing them down to a kind of thick carmelized mixture. This takes about 10 minutes, depending on how juicy the pears are.

I had to soften the coconut sugar in the microwave for about 30 seconds before adding to the milk. After doing that, add the oil and vanilla and stir until well combined.

Add the milk mixture and the pear mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just combined. Add in the walnuts.

Spoon batter into the muffin cups and cook for 20-25 minutes. Just try to let them cool before eating so you don’t burn your tongue on a hot pear.




Monday, September 16th, 2013

Peach Crisp

My super nice friend brought me yummy vegan food the other day. It was so great that she brought me food, but it was even greater that the food was so  vegan and delicious! weaking  When I tweak recipes that are already vegan, that usually just means that I lower the fat and sugar and sometimes add something like nuts, or some whole grain ingredients to boost the nutrition, especially for baked goods. This recipe is a great way to have a yummy dessert that you don’t have to feel bad about eating.

Peach Crisp

6-10 peaches, (depending on how big they are) peeled and sliced

1 c. rolled oats

3/4 c. granola, I used a naturally sweetened one, homemade would be even better

3/4 c. Grape Nuts cereal (this is optional and can be substituted with more granola)

1/2 tsp. salt

zest of one lemon

2 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. nutmeg

1/2 c. walnuts, chopped (optional)

1/3 c. pure maple syrup

1/4 c. canola oil, or coconut oil

2-3 tbsp. water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. I used pan spray to prepare a 9 x 9 baking dish.

Spread the peaches evenly into the pan. Set aside.

Mix oats, granola, Grape Nuts, salt, lemon zest, cinnamon, nutmeg, and walnuts into a medium sized bowl.

In a separate small bowl, mix together the maple syrup, canola oil (or coconut oil), and 2 tbsp. water.

Combine the wet and dry ingredients together and if the mixture seems too dry, add the extra tbsp. of water.

Spoon mixture evenly over the peaches. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the granola mixture is golden.


Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

Banana Muffins

Now that the weather has finally cooled off a little bit, I feel like baking a little more. My kids have started school, so it is fun to create something yummy that they can come home and love. I found a recipe for Banana Crumb Muffins in The China Study Cookbook, by Leanne Campbell, and decided to try it, but I changed the sweetener from sucanat to pure maple syrup, and added some millet. They turned out so delicious, plus they are the kind of snack that you can feel good about eating.

Banana Muffins

2 c. whole wheat pastry flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 c. millet

2 ripe bananas, mashed

1 c. nondairy milk, I used almond milk

1/4 c. pure maple syrup

1/4 c. walnuts, chopped

Topping (optional)

5 tbsp. sucanat

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 c. oatmeal

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare a 12 cup muffin pan with paper liners. Or use a nonstick pan.

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda,cinnamon, and millet in a medium bowl. I used a food processor to puree the bananas and then added in the milk and pure maple syrup.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry mixture and stir until well combined. Add the walnuts and then spoon into the prepared muffin cups.

If you choose to add the topping, just combine the ingredients together in a small bowl and then spoon over the wet muffin batter once it is in the pans.

Bake for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let them cool a little before trying to eat them.

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

Risotto with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Basil

sundried risotto small adjusted

Risotto has been a family favorite for years. We usually make a yummy mushroom risotto, but with all the fresh basil from our garden, we decided to try a new recipe. This recipe calls for parsley, which we did not have and it also calls for cheese on top, which we skipped to make it vegan. We also used less oil. This was delicious and was made by my son. He did a great job and only had a little help from my husband, who is the one that usually makes risotto. This is great with a side of greens.

Risotto with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Basil

1 onion, minced

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 c. arborio rice

6 c. vegetable broth

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 c. sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and chopped

1/2 c. chopped fresh basil

We use a stainless steel skillet for risotto. Heat up the pan to medium high and add the oil and then the onion. Saute til it is softened and then add the garlic. Stir for one minute and then add the rice. Stir and cook for about 3-5 minutes, or until the rice just barely starts to turn brown.

Then add 1 cup of the broth and the salt and pepper and stir and cook until the broth is mostly absorbed. Then add another cup of the broth, along with the tomatoes and basil. Cook again until the broth is absorbed and then continue on adding broth one cup at a time, stirring frequently, until the broth is absorbed each time, until the rice is cooked. Enjoy this hot!


Friday, August 30th, 2013

Cilantro Cream Sauce

This is so delicious and versatile. Super easy and fast to make too! This is from Veganomicon, by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero. They named it Sour Cilantro Cream, but I decrease the oil and call it Cilantro Cream Sauce. I make this in a food processor and it is done in about 5 minutes. Really, it is fast. We use it for a topping on enchiladas, which was my last post, as well as on any other mexican dishes like tacos and burritos.

Cilantro Cream Sauce

1 pkg. mori-nu silken tofu, soft

2 tbsp. fresh lime juice

1 tbsp. agave syrup

3/4 tsp. salt

3 cloves garlic, crushed

1  tbsp. grapeseed oil

2 c. loosely packed fresh cilantro (stems and leaves)

Drain off the excess water from the tofu and puree in a food processor. Add in the lime juice, agave, and salt. Blend until it is smooth.

Heat up the oil in a small cast iron pan and add the garlic, cooking until it is just about to turn brown. Don’t let it brown! Put this in the tofu and blend again. Add the cilantro and puree again until it is smooth. Scrape down the sides and taste to adjust for salt and lime. Put into a sealed container and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. This sets up a little bit so plan on it being a little thick when you serve it. This will last for at least 5 days in the refrigerator.


2 c. cilantro


Wednesday, August 28th, 2013

Black Bean and Spinach Enchiladas

spinach black bean enchilada small

One of the great things about this recipe is that you can play around with the ingredients and if you are like me, you can use up food in your refrigerator that is on the verge of going bad. I had made some super yummy cilantro cream (I will post this super easy recipe tomorrow) and my husband had made some fresh salsa for some tacos a few nights ago, and I really wanted to use them again, and I also had some spinach that needed to be used, so I came up this idea to make enchiladas. I have only rarely made enchiladas, but I thought that I would try something different that I knew my kids would love. And it worked. This recipe was a hit. That is why this recipe is really large, so pare it down a little if you are not feeding a herd of teenagers.

Black Bean and Spinach Enchiladas

2 tsp. grapeseed oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 large onion, diced

1 tbsp. cumin

1 tsp. chili powder

1 c. sliced mushrooms

2-3 c. brown rice, cooked

3 cans black beans, rinsed

5-6 c. spinach, coarsely chopped

salt and pepper to taste

green enchilada sauce (I used Hatch Green Chili Enchilada Sauce)

tortillas of choice

non-dairy cheese (I used Daiya)

In a large cast iron pan, heat up the grapeseed oil to medium high and add the onion. Cook and stir occasionally til softened and then add the garlic. Cook for one minute and add the cumin and chili powder and stir for one more minute. Add the mushrooms and cook until they are softened as well. Add the spinach and cook until it is wilted and then add the rice and beans and salt and pepper to taste. Stir and cook just til nice and hot. Now preheat your oven to 350 degrees and pan spray a glass pan. Spoon some of the enchilada sauce into the glass pan until there is a thin layer in the bottom. Spoon two big helpings of the filling onto a tortilla and fold the ends and wrap up the sides. Place in the glass pan and work through the tortillas until all the filling is gone. Pour more of the enchilada sauce over all the enchiladas and sprinkle grated non-dairy cheese over the top. Cover with foil and place in oven to cook for 40-50 minutes. I served this with the cilantro cream sauce and fresh salsa and these enchiladas disappeared quick. Other great garnishes include, avocados, tomatoes, peppers, olives. Enjoy hot!




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