Vegan and Sugar Free Glorious Morning Muffins

Vegan and Sugar Free Glorious Morning Muffins
Vegan and Sugar Free Glorious Morning Muffins

I’m on a muffin kick. After last week’s Lemon Blueberry Muffins I was inspired to post more yummy, toddler friendly muffins. These are also sweetened with dates, so no added sugar. They also boast a bunch of veggies and have tons of fragrant spices. You could also add nuts and dried fruit if you are into that sort of thing. You could also mix up the veggies and use only carrots, or only zucchini, or even sub in some sweet potato or summer squash. These are a perfect school snack for my daughter as they are pretty much allergen free in addition to being pretty nutritious.

 Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups chopped, pitted, dates
  • 3/4 cup just boiled water
  • 1 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup chickpea flour or more whole wheat
  • 3 TBL chia seeds
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 cup grated zucchini
  • 1 cup grated carrot
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seed oil
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 TBL apple cider vinegar

Instructions

  1. Prepare a 12 cup muffin pan with paper liners or a light coating of oil and preheat oven to 375.
  2. Place the chopped dates in a heatproof bowl or measuring cup and pour the boiling water over the dates. Cover and set aside until soft, 10-20 minutes
  3. In a medium bowl combine the flours, chia seeds, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Stir briefly.
  4. Add the zucchini and carrots stirring until the are coated in flour.
  5. When the dates are soft mash them with a fork until relatively smooth (no big pieces).
  6. Add the date mixture, oil, and vanilla and apple cider vinegar to the flour, vegetable mixture and stir until just combined.
  7. Divide batter evenly into muffin cups and bake for 20-23 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  8. Remove from pan to cool as long as you can wait before eating.

Refined Sugar Free Vegan Lemon Blueberry Muffins

Refined sugar free vegan lemon blueberry muffins
Refined sugar free vegan lemon blueberry muffins

My daughter loves muffins, well, she loves glorious morning muffins, and I wanted blueberry muffins. I am refraining from giving her any refined sugar for as long as possible, so I needed to develop a recipe for blueberry muffins that would make everyone happy. Light and fluffy for me, and fairly healthy for her. These are a good balance. The dates give them plenty of sweetness, that combination of flours keep them light, with just enough whole wheat I didn’t feel too terrible. The lemon zest gives the muffins a hint of spring and they are bursting with blueberries. I highly recommend these for second breakfast on the go.

 Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups, pitted, chopped dates.
  • 3/4 cup boiling water
  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • zest from one small lemon (about 1 tsp)
  • 1/2 cup sunflower oil
  • 1/4 cup non-dairy milk
  • 1 TBL apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp pure almond extract
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen (not thawed) blueberries

Instructions

  1. Prepare a 12 cup muffin pan with paper liners or a light coating of oil and preheat oven to 375.
  2. Place the chopped dates in a heatproof bowl or measuring cup and pour the boiling water over the dates. Cover and set aside until soft, 10-20 minutes.
  3. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl stirring briefly.
  4. When the dates are soft mash them with a fork until relatively smooth (no big pieces), then add them to the flour mixture.
  5. Add the lemon zest, sunflower oil, non-dairy milk, vinegar, vanilla, and almond stirring to combine.
  6. Add the blueberries and stir to distribute evenly throughout the batter.
  7. Divide batter evenly into 12 muffin cups and bake 20-24 minutes until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.
  8. Allow to cool at least 10 minutes before eating.

Vegan Tofu and Avocado Benedict With Vegan Hollandaise Sauce

 adapted from “How It All Vegan”

 Ingredients

For the Tofu

  • 1lb extra firm tofu, drained and cut into 8 slices
  • 3 TBL olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 TBL apple cider vinegar

For the Hollandaise Sauce

  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 TBL all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp lemon juice

The rest

  • 4 English muffins, split and toasted
  • 1 large avocado thinly sliced
  • paprika for finishing

Instructions

  1. Heat your largest skillet over medium-high heat until very hot. I use my use huge cast iron.
  2. While it is preheating whisk together the nutritional yeast, flour and salt in a small saucepan.
  3. Slowly drizzle the water into the nutritional yeast mixture whisking until smooth and set aside.
  4. Once your pan is hot (droplets of water sprinkled in the pan immediately sizzle and evaporate), add your oil and heat for a few seconds while swirling to coat the bottom of the pan.
  5. Place the tofu in the pan in a single layer (be careful as the oil will spatter when the wet tofu is added).
  6. Cook the tofu until golden brown on one side, 2-3 minutes, then flip and continue cooking on the second side until also golden brown, another 2 minutes or so.
  7. Once both sides are cooked remove the tofu from the heat, sprinkle the salt over the tofu, and drizzle the apple cider vinegar over everything. The heat from the pan will encourage evaporation. Set this aside in the hot pan to stay warm while you finish the hollandaise sauce.
  8. If you are a multi-tasker start this step right after you have flipped your tofu. If not, just do it after the tofu is done as it will be fine, but the sauce needs some attention.
  9. Put your nutritional yeast mixture on the stove and heat over medium-low heat whisking frequently until it has thickened to your desired consistency, about 3 minutes. When it is as thick as you would like, remove from heat and stir in the mustard and lemon juice.
  10. Place your toasted English muffins on your plates, top with slices of avocado, then the tofu, and drizzle the hollandaise over everything. Sprinkle a dash of paprika over the top for color if you like and serve immediately.

My Top Ten Easter Brunch Ideas

Pancakes
Pancakes

Easter is just over a week away! This year I’m trying to be a little bit proactive and give you a list of what to make early so you can make plans. Easter for me is a perfect day for brunch. I love brunch, and I really love to have people over for brunch. It is late enough to get all the cooking done, especially if you plan ahead, but early enough you get a good part of your day for other things, or for continuing to hang out with everyone you invited over and you still get a good night’s sleep!  Brunch has to have a few savory items in my opinion, but is really just a late breakfast. My list includes everything I would like on one brunch table, but I would probably have to pick and choose a few of these if I was doing all the cooking myself.  Good luck making your plans and happy eating!

Gluten Free Vegan Pancakes
Vegan Pancakes

 

Pancakes

 

 

Tempeh Sausage
Tempeh Sausage

Tempe Sausage

 

 

 

tofu scramble

Scrambled Tofu

 

 

 

browned potatoes
browned potatoes

Breakfast Potatoes

 

 

 

Vegan Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream
Vegan Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream

Ice Cream

 

 

 

 

Vegan Hot Chocolate
Vegan Hot Chocolate

Hot Chocolate 

 

 

 

Vegetarian Quiche Without a Recipe
Vegetarian Quiche Without a Recipe

Quiche 

 

 

 

 

Banana Walnut Baked Oatmea
Banana Walnut Baked Oatmeal

Baked Oatmeal

 

 

 

 

Vegan Blueberry Muffin
Vegan Blueberry Muffin

Blueberry Muffins

 

 

 

 

Vegan Cinnamon Rolls
Vegan Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon Rolls 

 

Toddler Superfood Oatmeal

Toddler Superfood Oatmea
Toddler Superfood Oatmeal

So my lovely little baby is a picky eater. How did this happen? The good thing is she is picky like me. It isn’t green foods, or vegetables she avoids, no, it is some sort of structure that only she know. It is starting to get better, but until then I just keep making this oatmeal in huge batches because it is all she wants to eat.  I shouldn’t complain since this is just about the healthiest thing I could get into her, but still.

You can mix and match what goes in here depending on what your toddler is into. Mine will only eat it if there are pieces of green that she can see. She turned up her nose and wouldn’t even try my apricot almond oatmeal the other. day. Whatever. I do try to mix it up a bit and add different grains, vegetables, and cheese on and off. I even put some chicken in one time and she ate that, as long as it was in the oatmeal. Not on it’s own, that just wouldn’t make sense.

If your little lovely doesn’t like vegetables you could hide them by using a white carrot and peeling the zucchini, just leave out the spinach. You could also make it sweet by swapping the broth for sweetener, maybe adding some cinnamon.

Good luck with your picky eater!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 small carrot, peeled and shredded
  • 1/2 small/medium zucchini, shredded
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 tsp mushroom broth powder or mushroom bullion
  • 1 TBL chia seeds
  • 1 TBL hemp seeds
  • 1 cup fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1 TBL nutritional yeast
  • 1 TBL olive oil (optional)
  • 1/4 cup cottage cheese (optional)

Instructions

  1. Put water, carrot, and zucchini in a small saucepan and bring water to a boil.
  2. Once water is boiling stir in the oats.
  3. Add chia and hemp seed and stir briefly.
  4. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until water is almost absorbed, 3-5 minutes.
  5. Add spinach and nutritional yeas, stir and cook until the oatmeal is the consistency you prefer.
  6. Stir in olive oil and cottage cheese if using.

Vegan Apple Spice Cake for a Perfect Fall Day

Vegan Apple Spice Cake
Vegan Apple Spice Cake

It’s Halloween! One of my favorite holidays. I love costumes and dressing up, and the general fun that Halloween brings. It’s a day when it’s ok to be silly, to take life a little less seriously, and be playful. It’s also a chance to try out different aspects of your personality and play them up in the spirit of Halloween. Even with my love of Halloween we haven’t been able to celebrate much the last few years:( Also my husband doesn’t love Halloween and I really have to push him to do anything that involves costumes. That being said, this year is different! This year we have an adorable child to dress up, and even my husband is excited. He is so excited, he came up with joint costume for he and my daughter, it’s a T-Rex. So cute. Anyway, Grammy made the costumes and I can’t wait to dress Wolfie up!

Is this post about food? Maybe… When I was growing up we used to have super fun time on Halloween. My brothers and I would make haunted houses, we would make our own costumes, carve pumpkins, and my mom would make a big pot of chili and a camp fire. She would sit by the fire and hand out candy while my brothers and I went Trick or Treating, then we would come home and sit by the fire eating chili and the 5 pieces of candy she allowed us to have on the actual day. Side note: this rule was developed after my brothers made themselves throwing up sick on candy by trying to consume it all in one sitting. Silly boys.

This year I’ll probably make chili because of tradition, and I’ll round it out with this apple cake. The base of this cake is my great-grandmother’s spice cake with some apples tossed in. This is a great way to use up apples that are maybe not as crisp as they once were. It is full of warming spices, has the delightful bits of apples that caramelize as the cake cooks, and is exactly what you want on a chilly fall day (plus it smells amazing as it cooks). So Throw you chili in the crock pot, bake this cake, and have a happy Halloween.

Apple Spice Cake 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup non-dairy milk
  • 1 tsp. vinegar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 TBL vegetable shortening
  • 1 tsp. chia seeds or psyllium husks mixed with 2 TBL water, or an egg if you aren’t vegan
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 large, or 2 small apples peeled, seeded, and chopped

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 370F.
  2. Add vinegar to milk and set aside.
  3. Cream together sugar and shortening until smooth.
  4. Add the chia seed/water mixture to sugar and mix together.
  5. In a separate bowl mix together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt.
  6. Alternate between adding flour mixture and milk to the shortening, mixing thoroughly between additions.
  7. Stir in the apple.
  8. Pour batter into a greased 9×9 cake pan and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until cake pulls away from the edges of the pan.
  9. Great for dessert, breakfast, or a snack!

 

Halloween Pancakes (vegan, healthy, toddler friendly)

Vegan Halloween Pancakes
Vegan Halloween Pancakes

I was working on this recipe to serve to my daughter as she starts to eat more and more finger foods. This is a variation of my basic pancakes. I love pancakes because they are easy to make, store well, and are very easy for her to eat. The downside? They aren’t very nutritionally dense. But wait! These green pancakes do a great job of bringing some nutrients, and they taste delicious. I ate most of them, but I did share a few bites with Wolfie.

They are green from the spinach, but if you start the trend on Halloween (or before they know what pancakes look like) no one will question you. I topped mine with homemade blueberry jam. I promise these are good enough to eat as a snack even without a topping. The fruit gives them sweetness and the almond extract a flavor reminiscent of cake.

 Ingredients
  • 1 very ripe banana
  • 3/4 cup oat flour (ground rolled oats)
  • 1/4 cup buckwheat flour (or more oats)
  • 1/3 cup all purpose wheat flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk
  • 1/2 cup sliced frozen peaches (optional)
  • 1/2 cup (packed down) fresh spinach
  • 2 TBL chia seeds (optional)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • Coconut oil (or whatever you like) for cooking.

Instructions

  1. Mash the banana into a large bowl.
  2. Add the flours, salt, baking powder, and baking soda stirring the dry ingredients together briefly by tossing them together without touching the mashed banana.
  3. Blend together the lemon juice, milk, peaches, spinach, and chia seeds until smooth. (I used my magic bullet, but a blender or food processor would work).
  4. Pour the blended mixture into the dry mixture and stir just until everything is incorporated.
  5. Heat a skillet over medium heat, melt in a little coconut oil, and pour the batter into the hot pan leaving enough room between pancakes to flip them.
  6. When the are starting to look dry around the edges and bubbles are popping and not refilling, about 2 minutes, flip them over.
  7. Cook on the second side for about a minute until golden brown.
  8. Serve with toppings of choice, or none at all!

 

Vegetarian Quiche Without a Recipe

Vegetarian Quiche Without a Recipe
Vegetarian Quiche Without a Recipe

I think this might be the first non-vegan recipe I have posted. It’s kind of scary to open myself to judgement as I switch to a non-vegan point of view. Historically this website has been totally vegan, though with the change a few months ago I decided to open the doors to no-vegan recipes. Personally I have gone through a process to make the decision to eat some animal products again, and it is a decision that works for me and my current lifestyle. When I do eat animal products I try to stay with “happy” animal products. I am working on a post about my food journey that will come soon.

I continue to eat vegan most of the time, though when I do venture out of my vegan ways this is one of my favorites. I think quiche is best when loaded with vegetables and baked in a perfectly flaky crust. Quiche is a dish that I have fond memories of from my childhood. We always had quiche for holiday brunch, and when we had people over for breakfast. It seems an impressive dish, but is actually easier than scrambled eggs!

What I love about quiche now is easy it is to throw together, that it feeds lots of people without slaving over a stove or worrying about timing eggs, and you can put whatever you have in your fridge, making it a delicious way to use up odds and ends. The only “hard” part of quiche is if you are making a homemade crust, and I made this sweet video to take the mystery out of that, so you are all set. I guess you could also buy a crust, it is up to you.

 Ingredients
  • 4 Happy Eggs (cage free, local, organic, from happy chickens)
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened, plain, non-dairy milk

OR

  • 3 Happy eggs
  • 1 cup dairy milk

And

  • salt and pepper to taste
  • herbs to taste (I used fresh tyme and sage for this quiche)
  • spices to taste (I used smoked paprika, salt and pepper)
  • 1-2 cups of chopped, cooked vegetables (I used kale, leeks, mushrooms, fennel, and little bit of red bell pepper for this one)
  • 1/2-1 cup shredded happy cheese (I use goat gouda for this quiche)
  • prepared pie crust (homemade or store bought)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Beat eggs until uniformly yellow.
  3. Add milk, salt, pepper and whatever herbs and spices you are using mixing briefly.
  4. Sprinkle the cheese evenly into the bottom of the prepared, unbaked pie crust.
  5. Spread the cooked vegetables evenly over the cheese.
  6. Pour the egg mixture over the vegetables and cheese.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven for 45-60 minutes until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
  8. Cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Discussion:

What is important for successful quiche?

  1. Veggies
  2. Cheese
  3. Flavor
  4. The custard (egg and milk mixture)

I I like to think of starting to build the flavor in quiche with the veggies accented by the cheese, herbs and spices, and all held together by the custard. Choose you vegetables based on either what you have, or a specific combination for a taste you are looking for. If it sounds like it would make a good omelette,  it would make a good quiche.

 

How Does It All Work? 

The Veggies 

Your first layer of flavor.

  1. Really any vegetables will work in this recipe; you can use as many or as few as you like. If you only do a little you might need to add more custard to fill the crust. I like mine stuffed with vegetables.
  2. I love using greens such as spinach or kale, onions or something in that family (leeks, shallots, scallions), mushrooms, peppers, broccoli. Really whatever you like in the combination you like it. Somewhere between 1-2 cups of cooked vegetables per quiche.
  3. Vegetables are the first layer of flavor, so choose those that you like together, chop them and cook them before adding them to the quiche. I usually saute mine.
  4. When cooking the veggies you want to make sure they are just cooked as they will cook a little more as the quiche bakes.
  5. You also want to start building flavor here while cooking the veggies. I usually add salt pepper, and finish with some fresh herbs if I have them. Dried are also good, but I add dried herbs while the veggies are cooking rather than at the end.
  6. You can also use leftover cooked vegetables. Let’s say you had fajitas last night, chop up those leftovers and throw them in. Maybe it was steamed broccoli, or roasted asparagus; just toss it in.

Cheese

Adding a bit more flavor.

  1. Almost any cheese you like should work fine here. Shredded is best as it will melt more evenly.
  2. Add the cheese to the crust first and it will help create a barrier so the crust doesn’t get soggy from the filling.
  3. Think about the cheese you might want on an omelette with the vegetables you chose, and use that cheese.
  4. Somewhere between 1/2 and 1 cup of cheese is good. You can also mix types of cheeses here.

Herbs and spices

Keep building flavor

  1. Fresh herbs are great in quiche, but if you don’t have them dried are fine. Don’t forget the salt and pepper!
  2. Season every layer separately (vegetables, custard, even the crust if you are making it homemade).
  3. I used thyme, sage, salt and pepper in my quiche today. Again, think of flavor profiles you like together and build a quiche based off those. Maybe basil and tomato with mozzarella, broccoli cheddar with just a little salt and pepper, mushrooms, spinach and swiss cheese with herbs de provence. Whatever sounds good.

The Custard 

Holding it all together

  1. You need something that holds it all together, and makes it, well, a quiche. The custard does this.
  2. If you are using dairy milk 3 eggs to 1 cup milk works well, if you are using non-dairy milk then 4 eggs to 3/4 cup milk.
  3. Sometimes I add too many vegetables and have to whisk another egg and pour it over the top to make sure the veggies are covered in the custard mixture.
  4. Season this layer too; salt and pepper for sure, and a little bit of whatever herbs and spices you are using.

A Video of My Mom Making Pie Crust

Making vegan pie crust
Making vegan pie crust

I usually just post a link to my videos in the post that they relate to, but this one is special. My mom came to visit last week and I convinced her to go on camera and make her famous pie crust! Not only is my mom sweet and wonderful, she is also an incredible cook and baker. She is the original “happy food ninja”. The pie crust she makes is basically the one she was taught by her grandmother (we just substitute vegetable shortening for lard). My mom is sharing some super fun tips and letting you in on the secrets to the perfect crust. I hope you enjoy!

Vegan Pumpkin Spice Muffins

Vegan Pumpkin Spiced Muffins
Vegan Pumpkin Spiced Muffins

I had a different post all ready to go, then it started to feel like fall. I love fall; the crispness in the air, the change of leaves, the cooler temperatures, drinking hot coffee, and being able to bake without feeling like I’m going to melt. In the last few weeks ads for pumpkin spiced lattes have appeared everywhere! I have never had one, but I do like pumpkin and spices in my food:)

These muffins are full of vegetables and whole grains, yet are still delicious! They are moist, singing with warm spices, and bring thoughts of sitting outside watching the leaves fall and drinking tea. For me fall is a time to snuggle in, and get ready for new beginnings. I have started most of my jobs in the fall, started school, and moved several times in the fall. I even  married my amazing husband in the fall almost four years ago. I love thinking of that time, and remembering the excitement I felt as we prepared for the big day, and enjoying the peace after it was all over. The weather brings it all back for me and I love it! I hope you are finding peace within yourself as you prepare for the change of seasons. These muffins are the perfect snack to have while taking time to enjoy the present, or plan for the future.

 Ingredients
  • 1 cup oat flour
  • 1 cup spelt or wheat flour
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp group cloves
  • 1/4 tsp powdered ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup shredded summer squash (yellow), or apple, or carrot, or hard squash, or whatever you have on hand.
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (I used canned)
  • 1/3 cup non-dairy milk
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 3 TBL mild tasting oil (sunflower, canola)
  • 1 TBL apple cider vinegar

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. and prepare a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners or oil.
  2. Whisk together the dry ingredients (flours, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, and salt).
  3. Stir in the wet ingredients (squash, pumpkin, milk, syrup, oil, vinegar, until just combined.
  4. Pour the batter evenly into the prepared muffin cups.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.
  6. Let them cool for about 5 minutes in the pan before removing them to a cooling rack.
  7. Enjoy warm, cool, or freeze for a quick breakfast.