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Mini Vegan Frittatas

As a lifelong vegetarian and vegan for many years, there are certain food items I never imagined I would eat. And that’s OK with me. There are so many amazing veggie dishes to try. In recent years, as interest in plant based diets has grown, industrious people have created some amazing recipes for dishes I never imagined I would get to eat.

Quiches and frittatas rank high on the list of things I never thought would be properly veganized. But, I was wrong! The secret is using chickpea flour to create the base to hold your veggies. I made these for the first time today and was surprised how fun and easy they are to make.

There are many recipes for similar items. I chose this one from The Simple Veganista because the recipe seemed the most polished to me. Mine came out pretty good, especially for a first try.

What I learned making them, that may help you too is that when you smell something good coming from the oven, that’s the time to check on your dish. At the 20 minute mark I smelled something good coming from the kitchen, but had read on TSV’s blog that many people needed to keep their frittatas in the oven for 50 minutes. I overrode my nose and waited until the 35 minute mark to take them out.

That was a mistake! The smell was telling me they were cooking too fast. If I had followed my nose, they would have been perfect. Next time. My advice for these is to cook them at 350° for 20 minutes and then lower the temperature to 325° for another 10 minutes. At the 30 minute mark (or earlier if you smell them sooner) take them out and do the toothpick test.

Ingredients

  • 1 and 3/4 cups chickpea flour
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil or oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups filtered water
Vegetable Mix
  • 1 cup corn
  • 1 bell pepper diced
  • dozen jalapeño slices (from a jar or can)
  • 5 sundried tomatoes, chopped small
  • 2 diced shallots or 1/4 red onion, diced
  • handful baby kale or spinach, chopped small

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly grease muffin tin with vegan butter. If using a non-stick muffin tin, this may not be necessary. I lightly greased mine anyway.
  2. Whisk the flour, nut yeast, baking powder, garlic powder, and basil/oregano until combined. Set aside.
  3. Chop and prepare your veggies. You can use any vegetables you have on hand that combine well together. Corn adds a nice sweetness. I always have some in my freezer that I run under hot water to bring to life before use. Greens add some color as well as many health benefits. I buy bagged spinach and keep it in the produce drawer of my fridge.
  4. Whisk the 2 cups of room temperature water into the flour mix until just combined. Fold in the veggies.
  5. Using a 1/4 measuring cup, fill each muffin tin. You can sprinkle with dried herbs if you have them. Chives are recommended.
  6. Bake on the center rack for 20 minutes. Lower temperature to 325° and check for doneness at the 30 minute mark. If a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, they are done.
  7. Cool on a bakers cooling rack for five minutes before serving.

TSV says these can be stored in the fridge or on the counter and reheated in a toaster oven. This recipe makes 12 frittatas. As a lunch, I would serve 2-3 per person with a side salad or other side dish. I served mine with sriracha to give it a heat kick.

These are really yummy and I will definitely make them again. Vegan muffins are my thing and these are like a savory vegan muffin with a variety of veggies. Chickpea flour is also high in protein and fiber.

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Chocolate Silk Pudding

For years I avoided tofu because of conflicting reports about how it affects women’s breast health and reports that overall women get too much soy. I drink soy milk in my coffee every morning, so I thought that should be my only soy product and I avoided all tofu products.

Recently, I decided to give tofu another try and I am so glad I did because this pudding is amazing. While I highly encourage each person to make their own food choices, what’s clear is that tofu is a good source of protein and it contains all 9 essential amino acids. It also contains iron, calcium, and other minerals. It’s also low in calories and filling.

Plus, did I mention this pudding tastes amazing? I made it three times the first ten days after I tried this recipe, it’s that good. The recipe is versatile, so feel free to make substitutions that work for your diet and what you have in your pantry.

I tried it with almond butter and peanut butter. I prefer peanut, but I am a peanut butter and chocolate fan. For my partner who is not a big nut butter fan, I made it without any nut butter and added a tablespoon of chocolate Cocatella. I made it with leftover canned light coconut milk and also boxed unsweetened vanilla flavored almond milk. It’s rare to find a recipe so versatile where every version tastes great.

Ingredients

  • 1 package organic silken tofu
  • 4 medjool dates
  • 1/4 cup vegan milk (I prefer unsweetened vanilla almond milk or canned light coconut milk)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened powdered cocoa (I haven’t make it with cacao, but you could)
  • 2 tablespoons nut butter (I prefer peanut or almond)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • dash sea salt

Instructions

  1. Place dates in hot water for 10 minutes to soften, then remove pits and break dates into smaller pieces with kitchen shears or your hands. Place in food processor.
  2. Add vanilla extract and vegan milk. Process for 1 minute, scraping down sides of bowl.
  3. Open the silken tofu and let the water run off into the sink. Spoon the tofu into the bowl of the food processor. Add the rest of the ingredients. Mix for approximately 2 minutes, scraping down sides of bowl and tasting the mix, adjusting sweetness as you desire.
  4. If you like a sweeter concoction, you can add a dash of maple syrup or agave.
  5. You can eat it right away but I prefer to let it sit in the fridge for at least an hour. It will keep, covered, for up to three days. As a serving suggestion, cut up a banana and serve it like a banana split with cacao nibs on top for crunch. Delish!
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Fudgy Sweet Potato Pudding

I put a sweet potato in a steamer basket intending to use it for lunch, but it didn’t steam in time for my sweet potato, black bean, vegan cheese, and quinoa quesadillas. Lunch was still yummy, but I wanted to use the sweet potato for something that would last a few days, since we weren’t hungry.

I remembered making a thick, fudgy pudding from Angela at Oh She Glows. I tweaked her recipe, substituting medjool dates for maple syrup. The recipe I used (and love) is below. This is a thick dessert, more like creamy fudge you eat with a spoon, not like silk tofu pudding. If you prefer a lighter, creamier pudding, check out this recipe.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cooked sweet potato
  • 4 medjool dates
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (plain is fine too)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used cocoa, but you could try cacao too)
  • 3 tablespoons nut butter (I prefer almond for this, but peanut works too)
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Wash your sweet potato and place it in a steamer basket on the stove. A medium size sweet potato will take about 20-30 minutes to steam. I bring the water to a boil, put the sweet potato in a stainless steel basket and then turn the water to medium-low.
  2. Wash your dates and place them in a bowl with hot water. Let sit for 10 minutes to soften.
  3. When your sweet potato is cooked through, let cool, then remove the skin (it will come off easily).
  4. If you have kitchen shears, use them to cut the dates apart. Otherwise tear them with your hands. Put them in your food processor with the vanilla extract and 1/2 cup of almond milk. Blend on low for 1 minute, scraping down the sides and blending again if needed.
  5. Add the sweet potato and nut butter. Blend until smooth, adding up to 1/4 cup almond milk to adjust the thickness. Taste it and if you desire additional sweetness, you can add a dash of maple syrup.
  6. You can eat it after you make it or place in the fridge, covered, for up to 3 days. Enjoy! This is a rich, yummy, healthy dessert.
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Vegan Irish Soda Bread with Carrots, Currants, & Pumpkin Seeds

In honor of the latest season of the Great British Bake Show, I am making a vegan version of one of the dishes presented on the show each week. This week I made Irish soda bread. I’m not sure I have ever had it before, but somehow it seems like a familiar bread. I’ve certainly seen it a lot and was eager to try it.

I tweaked a recipe from Anna Jones book A Modern Way to Eat. Her version uses 200 ml each of yogurt and water. I think this mix is meant to mimic buttermilk, which is the usual liquid used in Irish soda bread. I followed her recipe faithfully and found my mix was far too wet! I had to add about 3/4 cup additional flour, which means something is wrong with the recipe. It still came out good, though not quite Paul Hollywood perfect.

Below is the recipe as I tweaked it, reducing the amount of water Anna recommends. If you have a fav recipe for Irish soda bread, please share it with me.

Ingredients

  • 1 and 1/4 cup bread flour
  • 1 and 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup dried currants
  • 2 carrots, peeled and grated
  • 1 cup plain vegan yogurt
  • 100 ml of cold water

Instructions

  1. Heat your oven to 425° for 40 minutes prior to baking.
  2. Put the flours, salt, baking soda, pepper, and pumpkin seeds into a big mixing bowl and whisk well.
  3. In a separate bowl, add the cold water to the yogurt and mix.
  4. Add carrots and currants to the flour mix. Pour in the yogurt mix and stir to combine.
  5. Mix well, using your hands to bring it together into a rough ball.
  6. Place dough ball on parchment paper. If you have one, use a baking stone or pizza steel, for a crispier crust. Using a knife, slash a cross into the bread.
  7. Bake for 40-45 minutes. You will know it’s done if you tap the bottom of the bread and get a hollow sound.
  8. Cool on a wire rack. I served it with honey butter and it was delicious. This bread is great warm, five minutes after it comes out of the oven. It also toasts well the next day.
Featured

Vegan Florentines

Delicious and low sugar vegan florentine cookies

I’m thrilled that another season of the Great British Baking Show has come to Netflix. The show was delayed this year because of Covid-19. It’s a joy to have another season. To celebrate, I am making one veganized bake from each week’s show.

Week 2 featured “biscuits,” or what Americans would call “cookies”. I’d never made florentines before so went to the web to search for a recipe. I found this yummy one at Lazy Kat Kitchen and made a few minor tweaks to the recipe.

The cookies are outstanding. Truly outstanding. I’m so glad that because of the new episode of Bake Show that I found a new cookie. Just in time for the holidays too!

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons peanut butter (I used chunky and it worked fine. Most recipes call for smooth. Many recipes call for almond butter, which would also be super yummy. If you have nut allergies, you can use tahini or refined coconut oil instead).
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons coconut cream (I had a can of light coconut milk that has been in the fridge for a few weeks. Use a can opener to open it and don’t shake it! The cream will have risen to the top and solidified. The liquid and remaining cream can be used to make ice cream, smoothies, curry, etc.)
  • 2 cups untoasted flaked almonds
  • 1/3 cup dried apricots, soaked in hot water for 10 minutes, then diced small with kitchen shears (the 1/3 cup is measured post-dice)
  • 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds (yes, seriously! not a misprint, it was good!)
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 oz. vegan chocolate (optional)
I was amazed to see how thick the top of my light coconut milk got in the fridge. Worked perfectly.

Instructions

  1. Heat your oven to 350°.
  2. Grease a muffin tin with vegan butter.
  3. Put nut butter (or oil or tahini) and maple syrup in a medium pot.
  4. Heat on medium-low, whisking the mixture, for about 4 minutes.
  5. Whisk in the coconut cream until it melts. Simmer gently for about one minute.
  6. Take off the heat. Stir in the vanilla, baking soda and sea salt, flax seeds, dried apricots and almonds. Mix to combine.
  7. Spoon an approximately equal amount in each greased muffin tin.
  8. Bake until golden, approximately 10 minutes.
  9. Allow cookies to cool. If desired, melt the chocolate (double broiler method preferred, but you can also nuke it for about 1 minute in a shallow bowl). Spread melted butter on one side of each cookie. Refrigerate to set.

These cookies are so good! I hope you enjoy them. They are relatively low sugar, just the maple syrup. There’s also natural sugar and sweetness from the dried apricots. They are definitely much healthier than most cookies on the market and they taste amazing.

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Turmeric, Ginger, Carrot, and OJ Smoothie

I don’t have a Vitamix. My sister and her hubby got one as a wedding present. She raved about it and then stopped using it, which tends to be what happens with kitchen appliances. I am sure that it would be an amazing tool and so far I just can’t justify spending $500+ on a blender.

I have an Oster with a glass bowl and it does a good job. It won’t puree soups to silky perfection and I don’t feed it ice cubes, but it makes a good, although pulpy, smoothie. (Tip: if you don’t like the pulp, it’s easy to remove with a strainer.)

I kept seeing variations of this recipe pop up on my Instagram feed and it looked so good. A healthy orange julius with added antioxidant spices. During shelter-in-place I’m so happy to find creative recipes that use up ingredients I have, so I knew I wanted to give this unusual smoothie a try.

steaming carrots for the smoothie

Tips before you start

There are two keys to making this recipe super tasty. The first is to lightly steam your carrots before blending them. Sounds odd, but I tried it first with raw carrots and then with some I steamed. Steaming carrots brings out their sweetness and adds flavor. If you have the time, try it. If you have a Vitamix or high speed blender, this step may not be necessary.

The second key is to take the time to peel and section your orange and dig in there and get all the little white bits off. The white bits are bitter and you don’t want them in your smoothie.

Ingredients

  • 1 orange, peeled, sectioned, white bits removed
  • 1 carrot, peeled, chopped, lightly steamed
  • 1/2 cup frozen pineapple chunks
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon powdered tumeric (substitute with fresh if you have it!)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup light coconut milk

Instructions

  1. Add ingredients to blender in order, as listed above.
  2. Blend until smooth, adding a bit more coconut milk, orange juice, or pineapple juice if needed, or if you prefer a more liquidy smoothie.

For me, this made my perfect single serving size. You can easily double the recipe and play with proportions to get the flavor profile you prefer.

Shout out to Running in a Skirt (love that name!) that originally posted a similar recipe.

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Vegan Peanut Butter, Chocolate, Banana Bread

sliced vegan peanut butter, chocolate chip, banana bread

By luck or happenstance this recipe was one of the first vegan baked goods I came across in 2018 when I moved into a place with a kitchen. It was so easy to make and so delicious I thought all vegan recipes on the web were going to work out this well. Not so!

This recipe deserves to be shared because it’s so darn good and reliable. I’ve made it a few dozen times and it always tastes so good I start fantasizing about opening my own vegan coffee shop and serving this bread.

Prosterations to Madhuram of Eggless Cooking for creating this fantastic recipe and sharing it with the world. Those extra five pounds I just can’t get rid of? They’re all you, babe, but I wouldn’t take back one delicious bite!

The recipe below is my modification of Madhuram’s original, which you can find here.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup brown coconut sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/3 teaspoon salt
  • 2 super ripe, spotty bananas, mashed
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cups vegan chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°. Grease a loaf pan with vegan butter or butter flavored coconut oil.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together the almond milk and apple cider vinegar. Set aside for 5 minutes.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the flour, coconut sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk to combine.
  4. After five minutes, drop the vanilla into the milk/vinegar mix. Don’t stir. Plop in the peanut butter. Mash the 2 bananas by hand (it’s fun!) or use a fork. Now stir all ingredients in this bowl until combined.
  5. Pour the wet ingredients over the flour mixture and stir until just combined (no patches of flour remain). Fold in the chocolate chips.
  6. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan. Tap the pan on the counter to release any bubbles.
  7. Bake for 45 minutes. Remove pan from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
Vegan banana bread cooling on a wire rack

A few tips…

If you like, at about the 37 minute mark, you can carefully wrap aluminum foil around the edges of the loaf pan. This prevents the edges of the bread from crisping up too much. This step is optional and it depends on your oven and personal preferences for crispy vs. softer bread. If you do open your oven, do so quickly and not until it’s close to being done.

As Madhuram states, “Quick breads and especially banana breads taste and slice better if left undisturbed for 24 hours.” That just bites! It’s true though, this bread will taste better if left in the tin for at least 4-6 hours before you remove it from the pan and slice it up.

I have eaten it 30 minutes out of the oven many, many times. Then I have another slice the next day and remember how tasty it is after it’s had time to rest and cool. Up to you, of course, no judgement if you eat the whole thing on day one.

I’ve served it warm with vegan vanilla coconut milk ice cream and it was delicious.

My cool loaf, ready to slice and enjoy

Substitutions

Milk– I always use this organic unsweetened vanilla-flavored almond milk in most of my baking recipes. You could easily substitute soy milk or other nut milks, such as cashew. I think oat milk would work too. I wouldn’t use hemp milk or rice milk as they are too thin.

Add ins– If chocolate chips aren’t your thing or you don’t have any on hand, you can leave them out entirely or add 3/4 cup roasted peanuts or walnuts instead of the chips.

Flour– Whole wheat pastry flour works the best for this recipe. Flour is a tricky thing and the science behind baking is really designed to work perfectly with one type of flour only, maybe two. Sorry! If you are gluten-free, you could try oat flour or a gluten-free all-purpose flour. I haven’t tried either with this exact recipe so cannot guarantee results.

Peanut butter– I love peanut butter but realize that many people don’t or are allergic to nuts. You could substitute another nut or seed butter. Walnut butter is pricey but would taste amazing in this recipe. You can also whip up your own if you have a food processor and some patience. Sunflower seed butter would work for those who have nut allergies. I find sunflower seed butter is a friendly flavor companion to bananas and chocolate. Cashew nut butter is an option too, but I haven’t tried it because I am a big peanut butter and chocolate fan.

If you make this recipe, I’d love to know. Happy baking!

Featured

Chocolate Covered Coconut Bliss Balls

Some days you just need some bliss balls. I like to make these in the afternoon, have a few as soon as the outer chocolate shell hardens, and then finish them off for breakfast the next morning. Who says you can’t roll your oats in chocolate and call it breakfast?

This is a very forgiving recipe. I typically start with the oats, a little sweetener, some tahini or nut butter and then throw in whatever else I’ve got. Hemp, chia, and flax seeds all work. Coconut flakes, dates, other dried fruit (apricots, tart cherries, cranberries), and nuts all add their own magical appeal.

I add a dash of sea salt and a little vanilla. If you prefer stronger flavors, you could use ginger powder or candied ginger pieces, a sprinkle of cardamom, cinnamon, even turmeric. Oats are relatively cheap, easy to get, and fun to experiment with, so have fun!

Two helpful hints: I like to use my food processor for this recipe. I pulse the ingredients so as not to overmix. You may prefer a smoother, dough like consistency. Try it both ways.

Long before I had a food processor I made this recipe by hand, mixing all ingredients in a bowl and stirring with a silicone spatula. Don’t let the lack of a food processor prevent you from trying this recipe.

Tip number two: wash your dates and remove the pits. I typically soak my dates in room temp water for 15 minutes while I am gathering all of the other ingredients. I use kitchen shears to cut them into smaller pieces. This step is more important if mixing by hand.

Pulse all ingredients in a food processor

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/4 cup hemp seeds
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup or raw honey
  • 2 sticky Medjool dates
  • dash sea salt

Instructions

  1. In a food processor fitted with the S blade, pulse all ingredients until combined. You will have a mixture that looks like cereal.
  2. Roll the dough by hand and shape into balls. You can also use a cookie scoop for a more uniform size.
  3. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. You may want to eat a few now. (chefs have to taste their works in progress!)
Bliss balls before being dipped

Optional glaze

Depending on how much I’m craving chocolate on any given day, I will use one of these toppings to finish off my bliss balls.

  1. Roll in cacao powder or coconut flakes.
  2. Mix melted coconut oil, maple syrup, and cacao powder to form a liquid glaze. Dip the balls in, roll them around, and place on a piece of parchment paper. The balls then go back in the fridge. If you have extra mix left over, you can recoat the balls after they rest in the fridge for about 20 minutes.
  3. Melt vegan chocolate chips, thin with coconut oil, dip as above, put back in the fridge for about 30 minutes until the chocolate shell hardens. I typically do not re-dip my chocolate coated balls as one coat is enough. (not that I’m judging! If you have extra chocolate, by all means, eat it or use it and enjoy!)
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Banana Chocolate Walnut Muffins

banana chocolate chip walnut muffins

Just trying saying those words without getting hungry. Bananas, chocolate chips, and walnuts, all mixed up into delicious, sweet muffins. This is one of my favorite “go to” recipes. It’s easy to make, takes only 22 minutes to bake, and tastes yummy every time.

I adapted my recipe from the fabulous book 150 Vegan Muffins. It’s a great book with every type of sweet and savory muffin your vegan heart desires.

Flour

The recipe calls for all-purpose flour. That’s a great option. I have also successfully made this recipe with whole wheat pastry flour. I’ve also made it with 1 cup spelt flour and 1/2 cup all-purpose flour. That mix came out great. More recently I made it with oat flour. It wasn’t as good. Oat flour can be gummy in recipes.

If you are gluten-free, try a gluten-free all-purpose flour. I also recently discovered green banana flour. I haven’t tried it yet, but it sounds intriguing. If you make this recipe, I’d love to know what flour you used and the result.

almond milk yogurt, walnut oil, and coconut sugar, waiting to be whisked together
almond milk yogurt, walnut oil, and brown coconut sugar

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2/3 cup brown coconut sugar
  • 1/2 cup vanilla-flavored vegan yogurt (I use vanilla almond milk yogurt from Kite Hill. If you buy the single serving size, it’s exactly 1/2 cup, so no measuring needed).
  • 1/3 cup walnut oil (This is my personal fav for this recipe, you can use vegetable oil, canola oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, or any other neutral flavored oil you have on hand. I don’t suggest you use olive oil though.)
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 ripe banana sliced down the middle and then sliced
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
Mashing ripe bananas by hand
This is how ripe you want your bananas, with lots of brown spots. Go on, mash them by hand!

Instructions

Preheat oven to 325° for at least 20 minutes before baking

Using a 12-cup muffin pan, swipe vegan butter or coconut oil around 10 of the cups and leave 2 bare. For me, I prefer a more generously sized muffin and find 10 works better for this recipe. Also, with 2 empty cups, it’s easier to get the muffin tin out of the oven. If you prefer smaller muffins, by all means, use all 12!

  • In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg.
  • In a medium bowl, whist together brown coconut sugar, yogurt, oil, and vinegar until well blended. Stir in mashed bananas.
  • Add the wet mix to the dry mix and stir until just blended. Fold in the chocolate chips, walnuts, and banana slices.
  • Divide batter among prepared muffin tins.
  • If you like, sprinkle the tops with a dusting of brown coconut sugar.
  • Bake for 22 minutes or until tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Let cool in the pan, on a wire rack, for 5 minutes before taking them out of the tin.

These muffins are delicious ten minutes after they come out of the oven. They also last a few days at either room temperature or in the fridge, wrapped in tin foil. Enjoy!

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Magic Bread

loaf of bread fresh from the oven

When my partner and I moved in together, we both moved from apartments where we didn’t have a kitchen. I was excited by the idea of having a place to cook with a full-size fridge and an oven. I bought cooking gadgets I knew we’d need like a spatula for Sunday morning pancakes and a garlic press for almost everything else.

I waited for a Williams Sonoma sale and splurged on a large, shiny, stainless steel pan with a lid. It’s a gorgeous piece of kitchen equipment and I love it. The other cooking implement I bought was this Dutch oven. As a vegan I have to watch that I am getting enough iron and I read that cooking in a cast iron pot/pan was a good way to go about it.

I was excited to get the Dutch oven when it arrived. It’s heavy so I cleared space for it on a bottom shelf. I made a folder of soup recipes and easy one pot meals I could cook in my new Dutch oven. For two years I never used it! I was about to give it away when I found this recipe from Pinch of Yum for Miracle NO knead bread.

I knew I had to try it at least once before giving up on my Dutch oven. I’m so glad I did because it came out so beautifully that I made it again a few days later.

two halves of a loaf of warm bread, fresh from the oven
pulling apart warm bread

The recipe is simple. Just flour, salt, yeast and water, the foundation for all great bread. I used bread flour, which has more protein than all purpose flour. I also found this recipe from Contentedness Cooking that uses buckwheat flour, but I haven’t tried it yet.

Word of warning, find a recipe that fits the flour you have. All purpose and bread flour can usually be used interchangeably. But, all purpose gluten-free flour typically cannot be substituted and produce the same results.

To make this bread, start 15 hours before you want to eat it. I made it at 2 pm and baked it for breakfast the next day. Another time I made it at 6 pm and baked it for lunch.

Pro tip- the Dutch oven is heavy and hot. During the last 15 minutes of baking, you remove the lid. To make sure I didn’t accidentally touch it, I covered it with towels and a sign…

Don’t touch, it’s hot!

The second time I tried this bake, when the buzzer went off, I opened the oven door and left the Dutch oven inside for another 10 minutes. This gave the crust an extra crispiness that I really liked. It also gave the oven a chance to cool down before I took it out.

I love instant gratification so I served this bread warm. I ripped the loaf into quarters, slathered it with vegan whipped butter and honey from my garlic honey container. I even put a few small pieces of garlic on one chunk of bread and it added a nice flavor.

This really is magic bread. It takes four minutes to make the dough and it tastes as delicious as any artisan bread from a high end shop. If you make it, I’d love to know.

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Pineapple Fried Rice

pineapple fried rice

“To be without some of the things you want is an indispensable part of happiness.”

– Bertrand Russell

As Bay Area residents, we are on day 11 of “sheltering in place.” Today the social distancing requirements for my county were updated and expanded, in an effort to keep more people at home. Other than occasional walks to get some sunshine, Vitamin D, and outside air, I am limiting my contact with the outside world to a once-a-week quick shopping trip. Pre-covid, I loved nothing more than to spend time perusing the aisles of grocery and speciality stores looking for new products. I spend more time picking out an apple than some people spend picking out a new car.

As much as I’m missing my lengthy shopping trips and farmer’s markets, I know it’s for the best that I do a quick “surgical” in-and-out when I do go to the store. So, it delights me beyond measure to realize that I have most of the ingredients to make something that sounds delicious.

I came across this recipe for Pineapple Fried Rice from Vegan Huggs and realized that I had enough of the ingredients to pull it off. My quarantine version was outstanding. Better than the pineapple fried rice I had in a hollowed out pineapple in Chiang Mai. Yes, it was that good.

Ingredients

glug of cooking oil (about 2 tablespoons) coconut is a great choice, I used avocado oil and the flavor worked well
1/2 an onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, smashed
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
.5 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1.5 teaspoons yellow curry powder
1/2 cup of light coconut milk (save the rest for smoothies or overnight oats)
2 tablespoons coconut aminos (like Braggs or similar)
1 can of pineapple chunks, drained (save the juice for smoothies!)
2 cups cooked rice (I used a white and wild rice mix with lentils that I bought in the bulk section- remember the bulk section? It’s going away, thanks to Covid!)
Any veggies you like- I had frozen broccoli and fresh tomatoes so that’s what I used (quarantine cooking) Carrots, frozen peas, red bell peppers, sweet potatoes, and spinach would all be great choices

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in large frying pan, skillet, or wok over medium heat. Add onions and sauté for 3 minutes until softened.
  2. Add garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes. Stir.
  3. Add coconut milk. This will deglaze your hot pan and add a delicious flavor.
  4. Add pineapple chunks and sauté until lightly browned, about 4 minutes.
  5. Add curry powder and coconut aminos.
  6. Add veggies based on size (larger or denser veggies need more time to cook through, you may want to steam carrots or broccoli for a few minutes before adding them to the pan/work).

I loved this dish. It was seriously the best pineapple fried rice I’ve ever had. The combination of coconut milk and pineapple tasted divine and the rice was cooked to perfection. One tip, you can cook your rice ahead of time and store in the fridge for a day before making this recipe.

I hope you enjoy it. If you make this dish, take a photo and let me know. Happy eating. @MaryaMakesIt

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