Sunday, August 25th, 2013

Vegan Chocolate Apple Zucchini Cake

It is that time of year again when anyone you know that grows zucchini is trying to find a loving home for it. My garden was too small this year to grow any myself, so I have a few neighbors that learned how much I love to cook and also love zucchini, so now I have tons of zucchini at my house. This recipe original is here. I took out the coffee and pureed my own apple since I rarely buy applesauce and used egg replacer instead of bananas. I also changed the brown sugar to pure maple syrup.  I love to make treats that are full of hidden goodness. This recipe is definitely a winner for that reason. Anyone eating this chocolate cake would have no idea that is has apple and zucchini in it, plus it is made with whole wheat flour and vegan!  I had some extra batter and used it to make a few muffins to freeze for later. This is very rich and yummy. So enjoy!

Vegan Chocolate Apple Zucchini Cake

2 c. whole wheat flour

1/2 c. cocoa powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 c. canola oil

1/2 c. pureed apple (original recipe uses applesauce)

1/2 c. sucanat

1/3 c. pure maple syrup

1 tsp. vanilla

egg substitute for 3 eggs (I used Egg Replacer)

1/4 c. milk of choice (I  used almond milk)

2 c. grated zucchini

3/4 c. dark chocolate chips

3/4 c. chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 360 degrees. Prepare pan. I used pan spray to coat a 9 in. square pan.

First mix the egg substitute of choice and set it aside. Then puree the apple and grate the zucchini and set those aside.

Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt in a large bowl and set aside.

In a separate bowl, combine the canola oil, pureed apple, sucanat, pure maple syrup, vanilla, egg substitute, and milk. Stir well and add the zucchini, chocolate chips and walnuts.

Now combine the zucchini mixture to the flour mixture and stir well. It will be super thick, but it is okay. Scoop the batter into the prepared pan and put in the oven to bake for 40-50 minutes. Make sure you to do the toothpick check to make sure it is done before removing from the oven.

I let this cool before serving. We ate it with vanilla soy ice cream and it was perfect!

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

Barley and Spinach Salad with Tofu Dressing

barley spinach salad w:o auto small

This is the second time that I have posted this recipe since I lost it the first time. I love this sooo much, I had to write it again for you all. My friend found this recipe, a long time ago, and gave it to me. The original is here. It is not vegan, so I worked on it a little bit and now I am a little addicted to this stuff. The barley could be exchanged with another hearty grain, like brown rice, but I love the chewy texture of barley, so I never mess with that part. The dressing has tofu that I squish with my hand into the tomato mixture and after stirring it into the salad, it looks like feta cheese. This combination is very satisfying and filling, so you don’t have to rely on another dish to supplement your meal. It is delicious!

Barley and Spinach Salad with Tofu Dressing

1 c. pearl barley

3 c. vegetable broth

6-8 thyme sprigs

4 garlic cloves, minced

salt and pepper to taste

2 tbsp. olive oil

5 c. baby portabella mushrooms, quartered  (the original recipe calls for cremini mushrooms, but baby bellas are my favorite)

4 shallots, thinly sliced

8-10 c. fresh spinach, chopped coarsely

1/3 c. basil leaves, chopped

1/4 c. mint leaves, chopped

1/4 c. sherry vinegar

1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

2 tbsp. pure maple syrup

1 c. grape tomatoes, sliced in half

8 oz. firm tofu, drained and crumbled

In a medium saucepan, combine the barley, stock, thyme and half of the garlic. Add about a 1/4 tsp. salt and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat to medium low and cover and cook about 25 minutes, or until the barley is tender. I let it sit in the remaining broth, if there is any, covered, while preparing the next part.

In a large skillet, heat 1 tbsp. of the oil and add the mushrooms. Salt and pepper to taste and cook over high heat until lightly browned. I had a lot of juice in the pan, so I drained it just a little, leaving about half. Add the shallots and cook until softened. This all only takes about 5-7 minutes. Now combine the barley and the mushroom shallot combination in a large bowl. Add the spinach, basil and mint, but don’t stir it together yet.

I use the same skillet and add the remaining olive oil, heating up to medium high. Add the leftover garlic and cook until just softened. Add the vinegar, lemon juice and maple syrup and bring to a boil. Cook until it is slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook until they are cooked through. Add the crumbled tofu and salt and pepper to taste. Stir until heated through. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss. Serve warm or chill in the refrigerator for a cold salad. Yummy either way!

tomato tofu dressing small


Monday, August 12th, 2013

Fresh Herb Zucchini Pizza

zucchini pizza small

I have been away for a few days. Just trying to squeeze in a little more fun before my kids go back to school in less than two weeks. I am not looking forward to the stress. But, I do have a great recipe to share today. I love this time of year, when the garden is ready to harvest and every meal is full of garden fresh ingredients. We have been making this pizza for a long time. It originated from Moosewood years ago. It has evolved of course, but the key ingredients of fresh herbs and garden fresh zucchini on this pizza make it soooo delicious! The preparations involve broiling the zucchini mixture before putting it on the pizza, to avoid a watery mess on your dough. We have tried it without broiling it and it just makes the crust too soggy. So while the pizza dough is rising, prepare the zucchini and it won’t create any waiting to put the whole thing in the oven.

Fresh Herb Zucchini Pizza

Pizza dough for one pizza

2 tsp. olive oil

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

2 tbsp. fresh mint leaves, minced

1 tbsp. fresh thyme, minced

1 tbsp. fresh basil, minced

salt and pepper to taste

5 c. zucchini, sliced thin

While your pizza dough is rising, prepare the following. Preheat the broiler. In a large bowl, combine the olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, fresh herbs, and salt and pepper.  Stir and then add the zucchini and stir until everything is well combined. Place this mixture on a baking sheet and broil for about 10 minutes, or until the zucchini is tender. You will notice that the zucchini will have lost some of its water content, which is what you want. Change the oven temperature to 450 degrees. Now roll out the pizza dough and put it on a baking pan, or pizza pan. Put all the zucchini mixture on the dough. Spread it around evenly and put it in the oven to bake for about 12 minutes, or until the crust is lightly browned. This is delicious hot, but don’t burn your mouth on the hot zucchini!

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

Vegan Panini Sandwiches

panini side 3

Panini sandwiches have always looked so tasty, but also very fattening. Not that the cheese and meat looked good, but the whole idea of grilled sandwiches  just sounds yummy.This last weekend I decided to try to make a vegan panini. They turned out really rich and super delicious, and not low cal, but compared to the cheese and meat alternative, it is more healthy. This is not hard to make. Gathering the ingredients may take some effort, but not too much, and the results are fantastic.

Vegan Panini Sandwich

crusty Bread of your choice

vegan cheese of your choice, I used Daiya Mozzarella Style Shreds

vegan pesto

roasted red peppers

seitan, chopped and lightly sauteed

tempeh, chopped and lightly sauteed

panini grill or heavy bottom pan, I used cast iron.

Slice two pieces of crusty bread and spread the grated vegan cheese lightly over open faces. Microwave for about 30 sec. just until the cheese starts to melt. Spread vegan pesto over the face of one slice of bread, covering the cheese. Cut the roasted peppers into strips and lay those over the pesto. Take pieces of seitan and tempeh and lay them over the peppers in a single layer. Now put the pieces of bread together. Heat up the panini grill, or use a cast iron pan like I did. Heat it up to medium high and spray it with pan spray. Lay the sandwich in the pan and put another pan on top of it. I used another cast iron pan. Watch the sandwich closely and after about 3-5 minutes, check the bottom and see if it is golden brown. If it is browned, turn it over very gently and cook the other side until it is also golden brown. This is so yummy! Eat it hot!

Sunday, August 4th, 2013

Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins

blueberry muffins top small

When we lived in Wisconsin, about the middle of July, we would go pick blueberries. It was the greatest thing ever! We came home with mounds of fresh berries and I was instantly motivated to begin making blueberry pancakes, muffins, etc. One of our neighbors always made blueberry muffins that were so delicious that the memory of them still lives on. However, they were loaded with butter and sugar and refined flour. So over the years I have made many attempts to try to satisfy that craving of fresh blueberry muffins and this recipe totally hits the spot! The original is here. I have tweaked it a little of course, and the result is delicious. I made this a big batch for my hungry crew of teenagers, but half of this amount will make 12 regular sized muffins.

Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins

2 c. almond milk, other milks would be fine

2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

1 3/4 c. pastry flour

1 c. whole wheat flour

1 c. all-purpose flour

1 tbsp. baking soda

2 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 c. ground flax

1/4 tsp. salt

3/4 c. pure maple syrup

1/2 c. canola oil

2 tsp. vanilla

1 tsp. almond

3 cups fresh blueberries

3/4 c. chopped walnuts (optional)

Streusel Topping

2 tbsp. all-purpose flour

2 tbsp. sucanat

2 tbsp. Earth Balance, softened

1 tsp. cinnamon

Combine almond milk and vinegar in a bowl and set aside. In a large bowl, combine the flours, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, and flax. In a smaller bowl, combine the syrup, oil, vanilla, and almond. In another small bowl, mix the ingredients for the streusel topping. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and prepare muffin pan. I used muffin papers and they worked great. Combine the flour mixture, milk mixture, and the syrup all together in the large bowl and stir until just moistened. Gently mix in the blueberries and walnuts. Fill muffin cups 3/4 full and lightly sprinkle the streusel on top. Put in oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Wait 15 minutes to eat so you don’t burn your tongue on a hot blueberry.





Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

Tomato Basil Pizza

tomato basil pizza sm

This is the easiest pizza to make ever! This time of year with fresh tomatoes and basil available, if you don’t have your own from your garden, it is also the tastiest. We look forward to eating this all winter long. The part that takes the most time, is getting the pizza dough ready. The best recipe is the one I posted last. Once that is prepped, you can have Tomato Basil Pizza in just a few minutes.

Tomato Basil Pizza

1 pizza dough shaped and ready for baking on pan of choice

olive oil for brushing on pizza crust before baking, about 1 tsp.

3 cloves garlic, chopped fine

10 fresh basil leaves, chopped coarsely

2 large tomatoes cut into slices, or a handful of grape tomatoes cut in half.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Brush olive oil on the shaped pizza dough and spread the chopped garlic evenly around on top. I sort of push it into the dough so it bakes into the crust. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown. As soon as you take this out of the oven, top with the fresh sliced tomatoes and then sprinkle the chopped basil on top of the tomatoes. That is it! Eat it hot out of the oven!


Monday, July 29th, 2013

Whole Wheat Pizza Crust

I have tried lots of homemade pizza crust recipes over the years. For a long time I used the Moosewood recipe and then I wanted it to be easier, so I tried a recipe that used a food processor. I wasn’t really satisfied because I wanted the perfect texture of chewy on the inside and crispy on the outside. The best pizza crust usually resulted from using a pizza stone, which broke recently. So I have been trying to perfect a recipe with the desired results without the stone. This recipe was inspired by this one. I changed it slightly by using honey instead of sugar and making a larger batch with a little more olive oil. It also uses whole wheat flour with some all-purpose flour. It has worked beautifully. You do have to knead it instead of using the food processor, but it is well worth the result. This recipe makes three medium large pizzas, which is great for my gang of teenagers, or if you want to have leftovers, but you can scale it down for a smaller crowd. Next I will post about some delicious toppings we have loved lately.

Whole Wheat Pizza Crust

3 c. warm water

1 tbsp. honey

2 tbsp. yeast

2 tbsp. olive oil

4 c. whole wheat flour

2 c. all-purpose flour

3/4 c. all-purpose flour (for kneading)

In a large bowl measure the 3 c. of warm water and mix the honey into it until it is dissolved. Sprinkle the yeast over the water mixture and let stand and get frothy for about 10 minutes. If some of the yeast does not disappear into the water, don’t worry about it. Add the olive oil and mix it gently. Now add the flour a little at a time, mixing it in as you go until it gets too hard for a whisk and then use your hands. Knead the dough, adding the 4 c. whole wheat flour and the 2 c. all-purpose flour. Put the 3/4 c. all-purpose flour on a flat surface and add the dough and knead it for about 10 minutes, absorbing the flour as you go, until it is smooth and elastic. You may not use all the flour, and that is okay. Put about 1 more tsp. olive oil in the bowl and use it to cover the ball of dough  so it won’t stick while rising. Cover the bowl and let it rise until it doubled. Punch down the dough and divide it into three sections and knead it into a ball and let it rise again for about 30 minutes. This is a good time to preheat your oven to 450 degrees. I used pan spray to prepare the cookie sheets that I used. Take one ball of dough and pinch it into shape right onto the pan. The sizes I used were about   9 x 13. Let it rise again for about 10 minutes and then put the toppings on and put the pan in the oven to bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the crust is golden. Eat hot!

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013

Vegan Ice Cream

So this summer heat wave has left me looking for ways to avoild cooking, still, and ways to create something cool, refreshing and delicious. This recipe was adapted from many I saw on-line. This is so simple to make. It is ice cream in a bag. Yes, a bag. It has only three ingredients and is done start to finish in about 20-30 minutes. I made this with a group of girls that were ages 8-11. They loved it! I made it again with my family and it was great. So cool and easy and refreshing.

Vegan Ice Cream

1 c. milk (I used almond milk, Almond Breeze brand)

2 tbsp. sucanat

1/2 tsp. vanilla

quart sized zip lock baggies

gallon sized zip lock baggies

rock salt


In one quart sized zip lock baggie, put the milk, sucanat, and vanilla. Squeeze the air out of the bag and seal it closed. Shake it around gently to mix the ingredients well. In one gallon sized baggie, put 1/2 c. rock salt and 3 c. ice. Add the sealed pint sized baggie and then add more ice. About 5 cups. Squeeze the air out this bag and seat it shut. Now move the bag, side to side, upside down and around. Anyway to keep it moving. Do this for about 10 minutes. You will notice that the baggie with the milk in it will start to freeze and become solid. Yay! When it is done to your liking, take it out of the bag with the ice and wipe it off. If you don’t do this, you may get salt flavor in your ice cream. Yuck. I ate mine with fresh raspberries. You won’t believe how easy and yummy this turns out.

Friday, July 19th, 2013

Tomatillo Cilantro Lime Dressing

cafe rio salad small

This recipe was inspired by that creamy dressing from the restaurant, Cafe Rio. I have tried lots of versions of it trying to get it right without any dairy and little or no fat. This version which is my favorite has no added oil or dairy. It is not creamy at all and relies on the yummy goodness of the perfect match of ingredients. The jalopeno adds a little kick that you might want to adjust if you don’t like the flavor. This is super fast and easy to make if you have a food processor. And this makes quite a lot so you can have it more than once. It keeps well in the refrigerator for at least five days. My kids love this best as a dressing for burritos with black beans and corn chips, but my favorite way is on a salad with greens, brown rice, black beans, red pepper and tomatoes. It is delicious!

Tomatillo Cilantro Lime Dressing

2 cloves garlic, peeled

1 jalopeno, washed, seeded, and cut into a few pieces

4 large tomatillos, peeled, washed, and cut into quarters

1 bunch of cilantro, washed

2 limes, juiced

1/2 tsp. salt

1/8 c. sucanat, honey works well too

Place peeled garlic into food processor and pulse a few times until garlic is minced. Add the cut up jalopeno and do the same. Add the cilantro and puree well. Add the tomatillos and puree again. Add the lime juice, sweetener, and salt. Pulse again to combine. Taste and adjust salt and sweetener if needed. Put into an airtight container and use right away, or store in the refrigerator.

tomatillo cilantro lime small

Tuesday, July 16th, 2013

Cauliflower Barley Red Pepper Salad

cauliflower barley salad small

Its another summer salad recipe! I had never thought of putting cauliflower in my food processor until I saw it done for this recipe. When you put cauliflower in your food processor in small amounts, it turns into something that looks like a mix between feta cheese and couscous. The reason for processing small amounts at a time is to limit the liquid released from the cauliflower. I changed the original recipe a lot, but the cauliflower idea got me thinking of all these great possibilities. The barley in the recipe really hides, but the great nutty flavor and chewy texture are a great match to the rest of the ingredients. That same original recipe also has a great dressing that I only changed slightly by adding a little more pure maple syrup.

Cauliflower Barley Red Pepper Salad

1/2 large cauliflower

2 1/2 c. cooked and cooled pearl barley

3/4 c. celery, chopped

3/4 c. red pepper, chopped

3/4 c. cilantro, chopped

1/2 c. toasted sunflower seeds for garnish


1/3 c. red wine vinegar

2 tbsp. flax seed oil, or olive oil

1 tbsp. pure maple syrup

1/4 tsp. sea salt

Start by grating the cauliflower by using a cheese grater attachment on a food processor, or grating it by hand. Put this in a large bowl and add the cooked and cooled barley, celery, red pepper, and cilantro. Mix this well. In a small bowl, combine the ingredients for the dressing. Pour this over the cauliflower mixture and stir until well combined. I put this in the refrigerator for about one hour to chill everything before serving.  Scoop a spoonful onto your plate and top with the toasted sunflower seeds. Enjoy!


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