Sunday, March 31, 2013

Vegan yellow cake with chocolate frosting

So, when my Mom was alive she always baked wonderful cakes and pies for every holiday.  
Well it's Easter Sunday and I've decided to bake a cake.

Vegan yellow cake with chocolate frosting

For the Cake

1/2 c. soy margarine
1 1/2 c. plus 1 tsp. white granulated sugar
8 oz. vegan sour cream
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 c. egg replacer whisked with 1/3 c. warm water until foamy
2 c. all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 c. full fat coconut milk

Preheat over to 350°F.  Cream butter and sugar until fluffy.  Add sour cream, vanilla, egg replacer and coconut milk.  Blend until smooth and creamy.

In a separate bowl combine all dry ingredients.  Slowly incorporate the dry ingredients into the wet until thoroughly blended and smooth.

Coat two 9 inch round cake pans with butter, then flour.  Divide the batter evenly between the two pans and bake for 25 - 30 minutes, or until golden brown.  Allow the cakes to cool thoroughly before frosting.

For the Frosting

2 c. powdered sugar
1/4 c. soy margarine, softened
1/4 c. plain soymilk (I used the left over coconut milk from the cake)
3/4 c. pure cocoa powder
1/2 t. vanilla

With a mixer blend all ingredients in a bowl until smooth and creamy.  I've found that when frosting a cake if I put a dollop of frosting on the plate underneath the first layer that it will not slide. 

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Stuffed Peppers with Quinoa and Black Beans

This is a delicious and colorful recipe to add to your Easter dinner menu.

1 cup quinoa, rinsed thoroughly
2 cups vegetable broth
6 bell peppers, any color or a combination of colors
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (optional)
1 jar (about 25 ounces) marinara sauce, as needed
1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed
6 ounces cremini or white button mushrooms, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1⁄4 cup toasted wheat germ, plus more as needed
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon dried basil

Bring to a boil over medium-high heat the quinoa and broth in a medium saucepan.  Lower heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the water is absorbed. The quinoa should be soft but not mushy. Let cool slightly. Transfer to a bowl, cover and refrigerate for 2 to 24 hours.

When ready to assemble the stuffed peppers, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Slice off the top 1⁄2 to 3⁄4 inches of each pepper and remove the seeds.  Set the tops aside to be used to “cap” the peppers later.

Stir the oil into 1⁄2 cup of the marinara sauce. Spread the mixture in the bottom of a deep casserole large enough to hold all the peppers snugly so they remain upright during baking.

Set aside 1⁄4 cup of the remaining marinara sauce. Mix the quinoa with the beans, mush- rooms, onion, wheat germ, garlic, basil, and half of the remaining marinara sauce. Stir until well combined, adding more marinara sauce, a couple of tablespoonfuls at a time, until the mixture is moist but not soupy. Add more wheat germ if the mixture gets too soupy.

Spoon the mixture into each pepper, mounding it if need be. Spoon 1 tablespoon of the reserved marinara sauce over each pepper,

Carefully position the peppers in the casserole so they will remain upright while baking.  Place tops on the peppers.

Cover and bake for 45 to 60 minutes, until the sauce is bubbly and the peppers are slightly tender but not mushy. Serve immediately or let cool for 15 minutes before serving. The remaining sauce at the bottom of the pan can be served in a gravy boat for those who might like a little more sauce.

Original recipe found at:

Friday, March 29, 2013

Roasted Beet and Sauteed Beet Greens

When I was a little girl growing up in Alabama, my father grew fruits and vegetables in our back yard.  He also kept several other garden plots around town.  He loved gardening!  Beets were one of the staples in his garden.  My mother would pickle them so that we had beets to eat year round. Beets were a serious part of her preventative medicine practices.  We were told to eat our beets to keep our blood strong.

When my parents separated and our mother moved my sister, brother and me to Cincinnati it was quite a shock to my system.  I was so used to having wide open spaces around me.  Cincinnati seemed to me then and still does, very congested and closed.  It feels as if there is a dome over the city made of glass.  Although I can see through it, I still feel closed in.

More than anything I miss having fresh produce.  There is nothing like the taste of a sun ripened tomato.  I can still taste that wonderful flavor, and feel the slight itchiness as the juice ran down my arm.  We loved sitting on the back porch eating water melon still warm from the sun.  Although, I hated when my brother would spit seeds at me.  It was just so disgusting having seeds stuck to my skin, and having to peel them off after they'd been in his mouth.  Yuck!!!

It's unfortunate that so many people today don't have the pleasure of eating food straight from the ground.  Most people it seems don't think about where their food comes from.   And that is a real problem!  Most of the food sold in grocery stores is not fit for human consumption.  Even the produce has been tampered with.  They've been sprayed with pesticides, covered with wax, and even worse genetically modified.

For these reasons I am promoting the consumption of certified organic fruits and vegetables.  Better yet, why not grow your own?  Many communities are now making small plots of land available for organic gardening.  Connect with a community garden in your area and plant some fruits and veggies.  I promise you that done right, your garden will provide more than enough produce for you and your neighbors.  It's a great way to take back power and control over your own health. The benefits are worth the labor involved.  Plus it's great exercise, and the vitamin D from the sun will do your body good.  For helpful hints and tips for organic gardening check out "All New Square Foot Gardening", by Mel Bartholomew.

Roasted Beet and Sauteed Beet Greens

1 bunch beets with greens
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chopped onion(optional)
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar(optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (175 degrees C). Wash the beets thoroughly, leaving the skins on, and remove the greens. Rinse greens, removing any large stems, and set aside. Place the beets in a small baking dish or roasting pan, and toss with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. If you wish to peel the beets, it is easier to do so once they have been roasted.

Cover, and bake for 45 to 60 minutes, or until a knife can slide easily through the largest beet.
When the roasted beets are almost done, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and onion, and cook for a minute. Tear the beet greens into 2 to 3 inch pieces, and add them to the skillet. Cook and stir until greens are wilted and tender. Season with salt and pepper. Serve the greens as is, and the roasted beets sliced with either red-wine vinegar, or butter and salt and pepper.

Original recipe found at:

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Tiramisu Pancakes

Whipped cream is one of the guilty pleasures that I miss by adopting a vegan diet.  With this recipe I can have my whipped cream and eat it too.  Yum!

For the Coconut Whipped Cream:
1 13.5-ounce can full-fat coconut milk, chilled
2/3 cup powdered sugar, plus extra for serving

For the pancakes:
1 cup flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon dark rum
1/3 cup vegan chocolate chips
Canola oil

For the Coconut Whipped Cream, chill bowl and whisk of a stand mixer in freezer for about 10 minutes. Skim solidified coconut cream from can of coconut milk and transfer solids to bowl of stand mixer. Do not include any coconut water.

Into the mixer, add powdered sugar and whip for a few minutes until mixture begins to stiffen and turn into whipped cream. Chill whipped cream in an airtight container in refrigerator for 3 hours to overnight before serving.

For the pancakes, in a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, espresso powder, and salt. In a separate small bowl, whisk together water, maple syrup, and rum. Add wet mixture into dry mixture and whisk until just combined. Do not overmix; batter should have some lumps. Gently fold in chocolate chips.

Lightly oil a large nonstick skillet or griddle and heat over medium-high heat. Pour 1/4 cup batter onto skillet. When bubbles appear in center of pancake, flip it. Cook other side until lightly browned and cooked through, about 1 more minute. Repeat with remaining batter, adding more oil to skillet as needed. If batter becomes too thick, add a little more water, 1 tablespoon at a time. To serve, dust pancakes with powdered sugar and top with a dollop of Coconut Whipped Cream.

Original recipe from

Monday, March 25, 2013

Vegan Sloppy Joes

Update - Saturday, March 30

I prepared this dish for my family with a couple of adjustments.  Initially the dish was just a little bland.  So, I added a couple shakes of garlic salt.  That helped considerably.  The other thing is that it was just too spicy for my taste.  The next time I cook this dish I will use just 1/4 tsp. of Chipotle Chile powder.

The texture was consistent with traditional sloppy joe, and the shredded red cabbage gave it a nice crunch and freshness.

I will definitely make this dish again!

1 pound cremini mushrooms, halved
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 large sweet onion, diced
1 3/4 cups light beer, ginger ale or vegetable broth
Kosher salt
1/3 cup finely chopped walnuts
1 small green bell pepper, seeded and diced
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
1/4 cup ketchup
3 tablespoons tomato paste
6 whole grain hamburger buns
Shredded red cabbage or lettuce, pickled jalapeno and scallions, for serving, optional

Pulse the mushrooms in batches in a food processor until finely chopped. Set aside.
Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions, 1 tablespoon beer and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the walnuts and peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, until the peppers are crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms, 3/4 teaspoon black pepper and chipotle powder and cook, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms are just cooked through, about 5 minutes.

Add the remaining beer, the ketchup, tomato paste and 1/8 teaspoon salt and cook while stirring until the sauce is the consistency that you like, about 2 minutes.

Spoon the mixture onto each bun. Serve with toppings if desired.

The Original Recipe can be found at the food network website:

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Curried Baked Carrot Chips

1 large carrot, peeled
1 tsp. olive oil
1/2 to 1 tsp. sweet curry powder (stick with 1/2 teaspoon for milder chips)
salt + pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350° F. Cover a cookie sheet with olive oil.
Holding onto the small end of the carrot, use a vegetable peeler to peel paper thin carrot strips. Try to make them uniform in thickness.
Place carrot strips in large bowl. Toss with olive oil, curry powder, salt and pepper. Transfer strips to baking sheet in a single layer; the edges can be touching, as they'll shrink when they bake, but don't overlap them.
Bake for 10-12 minutes or until chips are just starting to brown. Place baking sheet on a wire rack and cool until chips are crisp, about 3 minutes. Carefully remove chips from baking sheet as they are thin and will break easily.
Eat right away or store in airtight container for up to 5 days.

Original recipe found at:

Friday, March 22, 2013

Ziti with Sun-Dried Tomato Cream

Makes 4 servings

1 lb. ziti
1 cup chopped oil-marinated sun-dried tomatoes
1 cup firm silken tofu, drained and crumbled
3 cloves garlic, chopped
4 tablespoons chopped fresh basil or 1 tablespoon dried basil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small can marinated artichokes, drained and chopped
2 tablespoons fresh parsley
soy parmesan (optional)

Cook the ziti al dente. Meanwhile, in a food processor, combine the tomatoes, tofu, garlic, basil, vinegar, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Process to a smooth consistency. Drain the pasta and toss with the sauce and artichokes. Sprinkle with the parsley and soy parmesan, if desired.

366 Simply Delicious Dairy-Free Recipes by Robin Robertson

I found this recipe at

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Cornmeal Breaded Tofu

In this recipe nutritional yeast is a key ingredient.  If you haven't used nutritional yeast before and don't know what it is, read on.  It is a deactivated yeast and is sold as a food product in natural food stores.  It is yellow in color and resembles dried mint leaves in texture.

Nutritional yeast is a good source of B-complex vitamins, and is a complete protein. It is also naturally low in fat and sodium and is free of sugar, dairy, and gluten. Sometimes you can find it fortified with vitamin B-12.  Because it is loaded with vitamins and protein it is widely used among vegans and vegetarians.

The flavor of nutritional yeast is nutty, cheesy, and creamy.  For that reason it is popular as a cheese substitute.  It's great in mashed and fried potatoes, a topping on popcorn, and in scrambled tofu as a substitute for scrambled eggs.

Cornmeal Breaded Tofu

Avocado oil
1 package firm or extra firm organic tofu, well pressed
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup corn meal
1 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Pre-heat oven to 400° F and lightly brush a baking pan with olive oil.  Slice the tofu into rectangular strips, about 1/2 inch thick.  Combine the nutritional yeast, flour, corn meal and spices until well-mixed.
Place the tofu slices in the cornmeal mixture a few pieces at a time and coat well. Place on baking sheet.

Bake for 5 to 7 minutes or until lightly golden brown, then flip the tofu over and bake for another 5 minutes.  This cornmeal breaded tofu can also be lightly fried in oil for a few minutes on each side until lightly golden browned.

Serve with ketchup or another dipping sauce, perhaps barbecue sauce or hot sauce.

Original recipe found at:

Friday, March 1, 2013

Spicy Tofu and Eggplant


1 pound eggplant
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon Asian sesame oil
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon rice or white wine vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons Asian red chili paste
2 teaspoons cornstarch
8 ounces extra-firm tofu, drained and cut into 1-inch cubes
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions


Rinse eggplant and cut crosswise into 1-inch thick rounds. Cut rounds into 1-inch-wide strips.
Pour vegetable and sesame oils into a 12-inch nonstick frying pan or a 14-inch wok over medium-high heat. When hot, add eggplant and stir frequently until soft when pierced and lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Transfer eggplant to paper towels to drain.
Add ginger and garlic to pan and stir frequently until fragrant, about 1 minute.
In a bowl, mix soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, chili paste, cornstarch, and 1/4 cup water. Pour into pan and stir until mixture is simmering and thickened, about 1 minute.
Gently stir in tofu, eggplant, and green onions until heated through.