BEST Vegan Chocolate Cookies

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They really are!!!

For no other reason than I felt like a personal challenge, I went for about two weeks without eating ANY sugar.

No cookies, no cake, no pie, nothing sweet at all.

But last night, I had had enough. Even though I didn’t experience any withdrawals or anything, I felt like if I didn’t eat some chocolate, I’d lose my mind.

I didn’t feel like going to the grocery store ‘cos I think it’s fun to experiment with ingredients on hand–and this is what I created.

I’m happy to report that they’re absolutely delicious! The cookies puffed up and then became all crackly just like I hoped they would, so satisfying with a cuppa. Crisp and chewy. YUM.

P.S. These is a a perfect basic recipe. Add whatever you want: chocolate chips, nuts, coconut, chia/flax seeds.

Best Vegan Chocolate Cookies

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup coffee or a non-dairy beverage of choice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix oil, sugar, maple syrup, vanilla, and liquid. Add all the dry ingredients and combine to make a pliable dough. If it’s a little dry, add a bit more liquid.

Roll dough into walnut-sized balls and place on two parchment lined baking sheets. Flatten slightly with fork.

Bake for 10-12 minutes.

 

BEST Vegan Banana-Apple Bread

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On a lighter note from yesterday’s post about how a previously undetected congenital defect caused me to almost lose my precious boy…

It’s been a while since I posted a recipe and even longer since I actually baked (unless it was for the Angel Boys), so this is a milestone.

I was invited to a neighborhood socially distanced party and thought I’d bake something to promote the vegan life.

Since I REALLY hate it when you search for a recipe and have to scroll down about five miles of blah, blah, blah to get to the actual ingredients and directions just to hold you hostage, I won’t do that to you. You’re welcome.

It’s my own creation, my own experiment, and I hope you enjoy it as much as my friends did! It always amazes non-vegans that desserts don’t need eggs or dairy to taste delicious.

BEST Banana-Apple Bread (Vegan)

2 ripe bananas
1 apple
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup dark brown sugar (you could substitute any kind of sugar. If you sub agave, add a bit more flour)
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. cinnamon (we like a lot)
1 tsp. baking soda
pinch sea salt
2 cups flour (I used whole wheat; you can use white or any combo)

Core and cut apple into chunks. Put oil and apples into a Bullet or a blender to make a slurry. You can also grate the apple but I find this way works great.

Empty into a mixing bowl where you’ve already mashed the two bananas. Add vanilla and sugar. Mix well. Add cinnamon, flour, salt, and baking soda. Mix to combine but don’t overmix. Stir just until all the flour is incorporated. If the batter seems a bit dry, add a couple tablespoons of plant-based milk.
**This is where you can get creative and add things like raisins, nuts, coconut, other dried fruits.

Spray oil into a loaf pan and spoon in batter. Sometimes I sprinkle a little cinnamon sugar on top prior to baking or I ice it after with a simple glaze of powdered sugar and lemon or orange juice. This time I sprinkled.

Bake at 350 degree preheated oven for about 30 minutes until toothpick comes out clean. Don’t overbake. These breads should be super moist.

More brilliant convo with a human

Angel Boy 2.0 had a cold so he stayed home from preschool.

“I’m a little snotty today, Grandma!”
He was feeling much better after a long morning nap. We were in the living room looking at the windy day while he enjoyed a protein smoothie popsicle (see recipe below).

For the past couple of days, we had noticed a big truck parked in front of his house, taking up more than its fair share of the street. No one knew who it belonged to but we speculated that it possibly was a contractor’s vehicle working at a neighbor’s house.

Recently, Theo has been noticing different cars and trucks and asking for them to be identified. “I said, that’s a Dodge Ram truck. He is so rude to park there every day. He needs to park somewhere else.”

Theo repeated, “Yeah, he needs to park somewhere else. He’s so RUDE.”

All day long we would check to see if the truck was still there and it was, so it became an ongoing joke about how RUDE it was to park in front of Theo’s house so there wasn’t enough room for HIS car.

At dinnertime, we were sharing interesting stories about our day and in a moment of silence, Theo said, “Mommy and Daddy, that Dodge Ram truck is so RUDE!”

There was such a shocked expression on Mom and Dad’s faces, I really wish I had a photo to capture it because this is what it SOUNDED like Theo said…

That goddamn fuck is so RUDE!”

Dodge Ram truck = goddam fuck —a very expressive three-year-old with a mouth stuffed full of lasagna and a stuffy nose.

For a brief moment, I had a feeling they thought I had taught him how to swear like a merchant mariner. However, when I hastened to translate, we couldn’t stop laughing.

Until the mysterious man drove away, Theo kept saying, “He’s so RUDE with his Dodge Ram truck!”

Just another brilliant slice of conversation with this always enchanting human.

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Fruit and Protein Smoothie Popsicles

Cherries (any frozen or fresh fruit)
Banana – one
100% fruit juice — 8oz
Kale and/or spinach — handful
Vegan Protein Powder–one scoop
Cinnamon to taste

Combine kale and juice. Blend until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and blend to desired thickness. Pour into popsicle freezer containers, the ones with the little sticks. Freeze until firm.They are so healthy and delicious!

You heard right…I did say Vegan Lentil Kale Cookies

BF607BA9-C66F-4599-B127-A6B2A94341DFAnd they are DELICIOUS, much to even my surprise, haha.

I was playing around in the kitchen this morning and thought I’d challenge myself to experiment baking with only the ingredients I have in my pantry.

There’s not much food here, but that’s a sad story for another day. (I can pinpoint the exact date and time that my love for cooking and baking was destroyed like an atom bomb.)

Anyway…

I thought these cookies were going to be making the short journey from oven to compost BUT they surprised me, so I thought I should share the recipe before I forget. If you try them, let me know what you think.

Vegan Lentil Kale Cookies

Lentils (cooked)-one cup
Kale-1/2 cup raw (freshly picked from the garden.)
Banana-one, mashed
Oil-1/3 cup
1/3 cup agave plus 2 tablespoons maple syrup
Chia seeds-2 tablespoons
Raisins-1/2 cup
Oats-1//2 cup (oat flour, I make my own, so easy. 1/2 cup oats in the blender or Bullet or food processor, takes just a few seconds.)
Whole wheat flour-1 cup
Baking powder-1/2 teaspoon
Pinch salt
Cinnamon-1 teaspoon
Vanilla-1 teaspoon

If you don’t already have some leftover cooked lentils like I did, cook 1 cup of lentils with 2 cups of water until soft, about 20-30 minutes or until all the water is absorbed.)
Let cool.

Place one cup cooked lentils in bowl.
Combine the kale and the oil in a blender/Bullet/food processor. Blend until a smooth slurry.
Add to lentils.
Add agave/maple syrup, vanilla, raisins, chia, and all other ingredients.
Mix until flours are well incorporated.
Let chill in refrigerator a few minutes until the oven is heated to 375 degrees.

Using a teaspoon, place about two inches apart on baking sheet. Flatten with a fork coated in flour so it won’t stick.

Bake for about 17 minutes until bottom is golden brown and the top is firm.
Let cool on wire rack.
YUM!

***Options: Of course if your pantry is more well stocked than mine, you can def add grated apples, coconut, and other dried fruit and nuts.

 

 

 

 

The Accidental Brownie #vegan

Upon my return from a week-long visit with Angel Boy 2.0, I arrived to an empty refrigerator and pantry. (Don’t worry, there was wine waiting for me, so it wasn’t a complete disaster.)

I was JONESIN’ for ANYTHING chocolate and simply didn’t feel like going to the store.

Instead, I scoured the cabinets to see what ingredients might jump out to create something at least halfway edible.

Whew! I found cocoa which was a MAJOR score, because obvs without it there could be no joy . Next, I scrounged together about a scant cup of flour. Cool. And brown sugar.

Here’s what I did:

In a bowl, I combined 1.2 cup cocoa, 3/4 cup brown sugar, 3/4 cup flour, 1.2 cup veg oil, 2 tablespoons black coffee since I had no vanilla and coffee complements the flavor of chocolate, 1.2 teaspoon baking powder. I didn’t want to dirty a mixer, so I used a fork to whisk it all together. It was a bit dry, so I added another tablespoon of black coffee.

I placed paper inserts in muffin tins, filled them 2/3 of the way, sprinkled the top with a little Himalyan sea salt,  and baked for 20 minutes @ 350 degrees.

When I took them out, they were still soft on the inside like a molten lava cake.

BUT EFFING DELICOUS. OMG.

I’M NOT KIDDING.

I ate two of them in a very self-congratulatory mood, and stored the rest in the refrigerator.

Now here’s where the magic must have happened.

As they set, they transformed themselves into the CHEWIEST, most intensely CHOCOLATY, FUDGEY, yummy bites of JOY that you’ve ever tasted. If I were making them for an event, I’d frost them, but on their own, they were amazing. The little bit of sea salt adds a sophisticated touch on the palate.

TRUTH.

You. Must. Try. This. Recipe.

You’re welcome.

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I’m salivating for more! Surrounded by some of my very own rock art.

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#vegan #chcolate #brownies #pleaseshare

The Accidental Brownie

1/2 cup cocoa
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup veg oil
Mix well with a fork.
Add 3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Vanilla if you have it, or 2-3 tablespoons cold black coffee
Mix well. Spoon into lined muffin tins.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.
Let cool in pan and then finish in the refrigerator.
YUM.

Super Moist #Vegan Chocolate Cake With Amaretto Coffee Frosting

Since I now focus most of my baking to please Angel Boy 2.0 (the new and improved version), this was the winner of all the chocolate cakes I ever created, so I thought I’d share it again for those of you who do still currently turn on the oven and combine ingredients to conjure up lovely confections (not confessions).

At 15 months, AB 2.0 can’t have chocolate; for now he’ll have to be happy with sugarless teething biscuits and kale smoothies. 


No eggs and no dairy, yet this cake is super moist, fluffy, and fudge-tastic — with a hint of French roast coffee and almond-y Amaretto.

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I was inspired by a recipe I found in my mom’s old cookbook — as always, I transformed it into my own version.

I know I use Amaretto a lot, but I ran out of vanilla and it’s a great flavor enhancer with chocolate and coffee.

Moist #Vegan Chocolate Cake With Amaretto Coffee Frosting

  • 1/2 tsp.  salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup cocoa (unsweetened)
  • 1 1/4 cups flour (all-purpose)
  • 1 tsp. white vinegar
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract (or Amaretto or Grand Marnier)
  • 5 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 cup cold coffee or water (coffee is better with chocolate) or you could always use soy/almond/cashew/coconut milk.

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

1. Mix the first five dry ingredients in a bowl.
2. Make three shallow depressions in the dry ingredients.
3. Pour vinegar in one, vanilla/amaretto in the other, and vegetable oil in the third.
4. Pour coffee/water over all.
5. Mix well until smooth.

Grease a nine-inch pan. Bake on middle rack of oven for approximately twenty-five to thirty-five minutes.  Check with toothpick to make sure it comes out clean. Don’t over bake or it’ll dry out. Cool and frost.vegancake4

Amaretto Coffee Frosting
Three tablespoons softened vegan butter substitute (I use Earth Balance)
Three or four tablespoons cocoa
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
Amaretto or Grand Marnier or vanilla
Cold coffee

In a medium bowl, sift sugar and cocoa. Blend with vegan butter. Add 2 teaspoons Amaretto or other flavoring, and 3 tablespoons cold coffee, Blend until desired consistency. If too dry, add more coffee or Amaretto. If too wet, add more powdered sugar.
Frost cake and dust with sifted cocoa.

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Thinking About Going VEGAN?

vegancookingOr if you already are, you still need to read this book.

Mastering the Art of Vegan Cooking by Annie and Dan Shannon contains more than TWO HUNDRED delicious recipes, tips to save you $$$, and how to stock your pantry.

It’s one of those books you’ll turn to on a daily basis. I thought I knew it ALL, but I learned much more valuable info.

From the Shannons:

“In our new book, we strive to show readers how to cook creatively and thriftily with recipes, sidebars, and tips on stocking a pantry and using ingredients creatively. Most recipes result in leftover ingredients and servings that can be reused in multiple ways, reducing waste in your kitchen while keeping your meals fresh and flavorful. Inspired by the recipes and cost-saving techniques used during the Depression and World War II and paying a vegan homage to Julia Child, we’ve worked to create a system that’ll help vegans and not-yet-vegans alike get the most out of what kitchen goods you’ve already invested in so that you can spend less and get more.”

The photos are AMAZING, the recipes are easy to follow, and the tips are great!

Some of the recipes I can’t wait to try: Tofu Spring Rolls with Agave Chili Sauce, Pumpkin Pie Muffins, Slow-Cooker Tempeh Jumbalaya, and Sesame Miso Kale Chips.

Don’t they sound DELICIOUS?

Annie and Dan have appeared on the Today Show, Oprah.com, the Kitchn, in BUST magazine and numerous other media outlets, publications, and food festivals promoting compassionate living. Their first book, Betty Goes Vegan, won VegNews magazine’s Cookbook of the Year award in 2013.

P.S. If you live in the Portland, Oregon area, you can meet the authors at a book signing.

PORTLAND
Saturday, July 18
Herbivore Clothing Company Store
1211 Southeast Stark Street

Website: http://www.meettheshannons.com/

The Good Karma Diet: Book Review

41NE50FNxPL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_“Eat gently, Feel amazing, age in slow motion.”

It seems to me that 4th of July — Independence Day — is the perfect time to review The Good Karma Diet since so many of us (well, not ME exactly, more like some of YOU) will be grilling and barbecuing thousands of pounds of dead flesh, an orgy of pig and cow and chicken and who knows what else.

Don’t get me wrong —  we love to barbecue too, but nothing that used to live and breathe — and it’s still an altogether happy and pleasant and fulfilling experience for tugboat man to get his grill on — with corn on the cob (non GMO of course), potatoes, veggie burgers, tempeh, tofu, garden veggies — and we are causing no harm and eating ethically.

Think of how beautiful our world could be if Independence Day meant Independence for ALL creatures from factory farm hell to enslaved circus animals to SlaveWorld to the horrors of puppy mills.

Freedom for ALL.

Many popular diets call for avoiding some foods or eating others exclusively. But as The Good Karma Diet reveals, the secret to looking and feeling great is actually quite simple: Treat our planet and all its inhabitants well. In this revolutionary book, bestselling author Victoria Moran reveals that by doing what’s best for all creatures and the planet, you align your eating with your ethics—a powerful health and wellness tool if there ever was one!

The Good Karma Diet shows readers how favoring foods that are karmically good for you will help you:

– Sustain energy
– Extend youthfulness
– Take off those stubborn extra pounds
– Reflect an enlightened outlook

This book also includes the inspiring stories of men and women across the country who have made this simple mealtime shift and reaped “good karma” in every aspect of their lives. Follow this wise diet and lifestyle program and you will find yourself waking up in a good mood more often and having a luminous look that bespeaks health and clean living.

Hopefully, you’ll read this wonderfully sweet book and shift your eating habits and quite possibly your KARMA.

The Good Karma Diet shows you why it’s in your self-interest to care about animals and the future of this planet. You feel better and avoid the ills plaguing American society, like heart disease and obesity. We all win a better world. And, good karma is delicious.”
—Jane Velez-Mitchell, creator of JaneUnchained.com, journalist, and author of Addict Nation 

I was provided this book to read and review.

Happy 4th of July!

Scrumptious Vegan Pesto

Although I usually make all the food I serve to my family from scratch, sometimes it’s nice to have a healthy vegan FAST option in my pantry.

Sauces ‘n Love sent me their Vegan Pesto to sample and review and it was the perfect choice for my tugboat man’s whirlwind visit home.

I wanted to prepare a homemade meal but didn’t have the time to spend hours in the kitchen. vegan pesto

There are only SEVEN ingredients!

Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Sunflower Oil, Basil, Pinenuts, Garlic, Salt, Black Pepper
Sauces ’n Love Vegan Pesto has the same authentic Italian flavor that’s been perfectly balanced with fresh basil, pine nuts and olive oil and garlic.
It has that rich flavor and texture of the best pesto sauces but without the cheese. Use this vegan pesto over pasta, salads, sandwiches or as a condiment.

I added a two tablespoons to a couple of hastily thrown together stuffed portobello mushrooms for an appetizer and it was delicious.

With Spring here and Summer not far behind, when was the last time you had a truly amazing vegan pesto on a warm day?

Sauces ‘n Love has a reputation for quality with fifteen Specialty Food Association Awards for superior gourmet flavor.

Check out the brand at www.saucesnlove.com.

Sauces ‘n Love Vegan Pesto with Asparagus with Mushrooms

Ingredients:

Sauces ‘n Love Vegan Pesto
8 oz. Linguine
1 bunch asparagus
4 oz. mixed mushrooms
1 Shallot (or onion)
3 tbsp. Extra virgin olive oil Salt & Black Pepper

Preparation :

Set pot of cold water (3-4 qts.) on high heat. Wash and dry asparagus, cut hard end off (3-4″), trim heads, and cut stem in 1/4″ cylinders. Cut heads in half, lengthwise. Slice shallot thinly. Trim mushroom stems, rub head with damp paper towel, removing any dirt. Roughly chop mushrooms.

Actions: In skillet heat 3 tbsp oil on Medium.

  1. Saute’ shallots for 1 minute stirring, add asparagus cylinders (retain the heads), cook for 2 minutes, stirring.
  2. Add salt to boiling water, add pasta and set timer according to instructions on package.
  3. Add mushroom to asparagus, cook for 5 minutes. Adjust for salt and pepper
  4. Add Sauces ‘n Love Vegan Pesto and asparagus heads, bring to gentle simmer, add 2 tbsp pasta water (more if you want the sauce thinner)
  5. Drain pasta, add to sauce and gently coat by stirring medium heat.

Presentation : Serve on warm plates, decorate with a sprig of your favorite herb. We like everything a bit spicy, so just added a few hot red pepper flakes. Buon Appetito! (I was provided product to sample and review. Opinions are my own.)

Keep It Simple With Brown Rice, Kale, and Tofu #MeatlessMonday

Over the last couple of years, I’ve seen a huge increase in the numbers of vegan blogs and vegan recipes (YAY!) but it seems that they’re getting more and more elaborate, as if it’s a sort of competition to create the most difficult-to-prepare meals.

I’m sending a more simple back-to-basics message.

If we agree that one of the reasons for not eating meat advocates for a cruelty-free life to protect animals from a hellish existence on earth, we need to also communicate that it doesn’t always have to be a herculean task to do the right thing.

I’ve been a veg since 1970 and in those 40+ years have seen a lot of people make a similar decision to go meat-free and then, for one reason or another, fall off the wagon.

One of the reasons I’ve heard time and time again is that it’s “too hard”.

I disagree.

Some of my most enjoyable and satisfying meals are the most simple.

Here’s an example of a basic, easy-to-prepare dinner.

Start with my can’t fail One Dish Brown Rice recipe.

It’s PERFECT every time.

1. Add one cup brown rice to a 9×9 glass baking dish.

2. Pour over the rice not quite two cups water plus one teaspoon olive oil.

3. Lay gently on top of the rice one-inch chunks of tofu.

4. Sprinkle pepper, chopped fresh herbs, freshly ground salt (if you must).

5. Cover tightly with aluminum foil. Bake at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes.

6. While the rice is baking, I picked a bunch of kale from the garden, cut into bite-size pieces, and steamed it.

7. To serve, sprinkle rice with low-sodium soy sauce, slice an organic tomato and garnish with cilantro or parsley (we grow cilantro year-round in the Casa de Enchanted Seashells garden.

A chilled chardonnay will dance a tango on your palate and complement the earthy rice, tofu, and kale combo.

Simple. Delicious.