Best Blueberry Muffins EVER

Another beautiful recipe from Emily Mainquist‘s book, Sweet Vegan.

Recipe:
1 1/2 c unbleached flour
3/4 c sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 c veg oil
1/3 c soy milk
1 tbl ground flax with 3 tbls warm water*
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 c fresh blueberries

Mix dry. Mix wet. Then mix wet into dry. Fold in blueberries. Bake at 350 for 18-20 min.

* Note if you aren’t familiar with ground flax (normally found in the baking aisle or natural food section) feel free to check out this site for alternative egg-free options.

Butternut Coconut Rice

As previously mentioned, I am on a budget. In addition to this, I will be moving in two weeks, so I am making an advanced effort of cleaning out my fridge/freezer. I had some frozen squash left over from last fall and came across this recipe. Since I already had coconut milk and pink rice, it was a match made in food heaven. This recipe comes from Isa Chandra Moskowtiz’s Appetite for Reduction. If you don’t have this book, I strongly recommend getting it.

Ingredients:

  • 1 c brown basmati rice (I used pink rice)
  • 2 c water
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 lbs butternut squash
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 c sliced shallot
  • 1 tbl minced fresh ginger
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp lime zest
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 c light coconut milk
  • 1/4-1/2 c veg broth (I just used water)
  • 1 tbl freshly squeezed lime juice

Directions:

  1. Cook rice (add rice, water and pinch of salt)
  2. Preheat oven to 400, bake squash for about 45 minutes
  3. When squash is cool to handle, preheat a large skillet over med-high heat. Sauté shallot in the oil for about 7 minutes. Add ginger, garlic, lime zest, red pepper flakes and salt, saute for 2 minutes, turn heat to low
  4. Scoop the flesh out of the squash into the pan, add the coconut milk. Use a potato masher (fork, what have you) and mash into a creamy consistency. Add rice and stir well. Add 1/4 c veg broth (or water) and mix well. You can add up to another 1/4 c of brother to get a creamier consistency if you want. Add lime juice, salt if needed and enjoy!

Edible Artwork

Australians may like to throw shrimp on the barbie, but I like to throw brownies into the oven. I tested yet another recipe tonight and this time it came with a fancy design. Compassionate Action for Animals received a new copy of Sweet Vegan to review. I took the liberty of browsing through the recipes and fell into Kismet. It just so happened that the Peanut Butter Brownie recipe called for ingredients that I currently have on hand.

The author, Emily Mainquist, hit the nail on the head by noting the difficulties vegan bakers encounter with brownie recipes. All too often brownie recipes fail to produce a moist and chewy bite. Emily reassured the future bakers that her Peanut Butter Brownie recipe will satisfy their deepest dessert dreams.

Ingredients:

  • 2 c unbleached flour
  • 2 c evaporated cane juice (I just used plain ol’ white sugar)
  • 3/4 c cocoa powder (I used unsweetened)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 c water
  • 1 c vegetable oil (canola worked for me)
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 c peanut butter (I didn’t measure this, just knifed it out of the jar and designed away)
  • 1/2 c melted gluten-free chocolate chips (I skipped this part)

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a 9×13 pan with foil or parchment.
  2. Combine dry ingredients, add in water, oil and vanilla. Mix until well combined. Pour into pan.
  3. Spoon (or knife) peanut butter onto each corner and the center of the brownie batter. Swirl peanut butter to create a marbled effect.
  4. Back for 20-25 minutes. Cool for 30 min then invert the pan on a cutting board and peel away the parchment or foil. Cut into brownies and drizzle with melted chocolate.

Frozen Banillagurt

This sweltering, tropical weather has eroded my appetite for all but ice-cream. After a few unexpected bills this month, I am pinching pennies to get by til payday. A quick browse through my freezer leaves my stomach sobbing. No ice-cream! In times of desperation, creativity is bound to make an appearance…

I put my culinary skills to the test and came up with a faux ice-cream. I mashed one large banana, added in some vanilla soy yogurt, a dollop of peanut butter and a large handful of chocolate chips. I then chilled the banillagurt mixture for two hours and dove my spoon into ice-cream like heaven.

I had every intention of taking a picture, but I lost all self-control. Before I knew it, the dish was licked clean… I encourage you to give it a whirl tonight, you won’t be let down!!

Frittata Sans Eggs

If you’ve never participated in a food club, I urge to you to look into it right now. They are a beautiful thing. Once a month, five of us meet up and exchange dishes and recipes. This month was my turn to host. Those who host don’t make a dish to share for the week, instead hosts make a dish to enjoy that night.

Last Monday I tried my luck and came out on top. I tested a product for the first time called Cinque e Cinque, by Lucini. What is this cinque? It’s similar to a frittata, but without the eggs. It is made up of chickpea flour along with other flavors. The product I tried out was Rosemary Cinque. I mixed in some sautéed mushrooms and steamed broccoli. Here is how it turned out:

It was really quite elegant. The flavor was tasty and the texture was unique. It definitely was not like an egg. It had a consistency similar to mashed potatoes. However, it wasn’t off-putting or anything.

Next time I would like to try cooking this in a different form. The Lucini website has an intriguing recipe section.

In addition to the eggless frittata, I made my infamous kale dish. It cooked a little longer than I intended, but no one seemed to notice.

The recipe is super simple: boil some kale until tender (anywhere from 5-20 minutes), sauté in plenty of olive oil, add in sun-dried tomatoes, butter beans and garlic. Enjoy!

Other foods shared for the week included a tofu/vegetable curry, basil pasta dish, coconut carob quinoa and an Asian slaw salad.

I can hardly wait for August’s food club!

Go Team Veg!

The fourth was a busy holiday for me this year. I did a lot of exploring, photographing, baking and cooking. I also signed up for a 10k race. I am not the best athlete in the world. Back in gym class days, I was always the kid who got yelled at for walking the mile. However my attitude towards physical fitness changed a few years ago after my mom was diagnosed with some health problems. I decided to get my rear in gear. I ran my first 10k in the fall of 2009, then did some 5ks and eventually worked up to a half-marathon. I am not the fastest runner, but I finish and that’s all that matters to me.

This was the first race that I did where I was running for a cause – other than getting my lazy arse out of bed. Last week I came across some “Team Veg” t-shirts. Team Veg was created a few years ago and it promoted veg health and fitness. Unfortunately the site, www.teamveg.org, is no longer active. However, if there is enough interest to get it started again, I think this would be a great project.

Hopefully it got some other runners thinking and maybe it will encourage them to look further into going vegetarian!

If anyone is interested in sponsoring me for upcoming athletic events (next event is the Warrior Dash) please consider making a tax-deductible donation to Compassionate Action for Animals.

Yummy Lentil Tacos

I came across this recipe on the Post Punk Kitchen page. These lentil tacos are a nice change of pace from TVP or crumbles. Enjoy!

Ancho Lentil Tacos

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 1/2 cups cooked lentils (from about 1 cup dried)
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons hot sauce

Spice mix:

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons ground ancho chile
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  1. Combine all of the ingredients for the spice mix and set aside. (keep a cup of water within reach, you’ll need to add splashes as you  cook)
  2. Preheat  a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sautee the onion and garlic in  the oil with a pinch of salt for about 3 minutes, until lightly browned.  Add spices and toss them for 30 seconds or so to toast.
  3. Lower  heat to medium, add lentils, a few splashes of water, tomato paste and  hot sauce; use a spatula to mash them a bit as they cook, until they  hold together. If your spatula isn’t strong enough to accomplish this,  just use a fork. Do this for about 5 minutes, adding splashes of water  as necessary if it appears dry. Taste for salt and seasoning, add spices as needed.

toppings: tomato, lettuce, sauteed pepper and onion and WayFare Mexican Cheese spread

Home Cookin’

I love cooking, especially when all of the ingredients are provided for me. Such is the case whenever I visit my parents. I ask them what foods they want and I go to town whipping up veganized versions. So far I have made potato salad and rice pudding. This morning I made breakfast potatoes with the extra potatoes I had leftover from the salad. Recipes in queue for the remainder of the weekend include lentil tacos and mac ‘n’ cheese.

Potato Salad

  • 2lb fingerling potatoes, cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1/2 c veg mayo (I used Nayonaise)
  • 1/4 c whole-grain mustard (I used a local one that I nabbed from the Farmer’s Market)
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 small red pepper (1 c)
  • 3 celery stalks (1 c)
  • 1/2 small red onion, diced (1/2 c)

  1. Cook potatoes until tender, but not soft
  2. Whisk together mayo, mustard and olive oil into a large bowl. Stir in pepper, celery and onion
  3. Drain potatoes, rinse under water and drain again. Add potatoes to dressing mixture. Season with salt and pepper
  4. Let refrigerate for at least 3 hours

Raisin Pudding

  • 2 c water
  • 1 c rice (I used white because my dad hates brown…but the recipe calls for brown)
  • 1 1/4 c non-dairy milk
  • 1/3 c raisins (I ended up using 2/3 c)
  • 1/3 c brown rice syrup or maple syrup (my parents only had Aunt Jemima, so I opted for honey)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

Cook rice until water is absorbed. Add remaining ingredients and continue to cook until all of the liquid has been absorbed. Refrigerate for a few hours. Serves 3-4.