Category Archives: baked treats

Vegan’s Daily Companion: Lemon Berry Muffins

This was week three of Vegan’s Daily Companion. And I finally made the week’s recipe! But before we get to that let me tell you a little about some of the other topics from this week.

On Monday I learned about walnuts and how they are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids that are so important.  Tuesday was my favorite entry for the week. The topic was titled, Answering the Same Questions Again and Again. The passage that hit me the most was, “Whether we like it or not, if we’re the vegan someone comes to, we represent all vegans.” When someone asks us questions like, “Where do you get your protein?”, it is important that we don’t just roll our eyes out of annoyance, but sincerely answer the question with patience and compassion. They may never have talked to a vegan before and genuinely don’t get it. Or they may be trying to mess with you, but even so, take the high road!

Now let’s fast forward to the weekend section- food! Saturdays and Sundays are combined into one section in Colleen’s book and there is always a recipe. I HAD to make this week’s- Blueberry-Lemon Muffins! I wished I had read ahead because my mom gave me a beautiful pint of fresh blueberries, but I ate them up before I realized I could use them in the recipe for the week! So I improvised with frozen mixed berries. And they were still amazing!

I had some lovely home-grown lemons from a friend’s yard. And I think the thing I was most excited about was the fact that the recipe called for lemon extract. I’ve had an unopened bottle of organic lemon extract that I got on clearance quite a while back that I haven’t had a use for. I think I actually squealed out loud when I realized I could use it!

So the muffins turned out fluffy and perfectly cake-like. Just the way I like them. They were also nice and lemony!! (I should hope so with the zest of two lemons and a teaspoon of lemon extract!) I inhaled enjoyed them slathered with Earth Balance buttery spread and a nice cup of kukicha tea, hot out of the oven!

look at that berry goodness!

And on a somewhat unrelated note, I got a laptop this weekend and was soooo excited to sit at my kitchen table and blog whilst the muffins were baking! I’ve never had a laptop before and is it ever a treat! :)

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Weekend Adventures: Birthday Monster Cookies!

I have one nephew and his name is Jake. He is a rad kid- super athletic and handsome- but more importantly, he is a good person. He is fun and friendly and polite. We just love him to pieces, of course!

Jake’s birthday is right after Christmas so everyone in the family is careful to make sure we make a big deal about his special day so that it doesn’t get overshadowed by the holiday. This birthday Jake turned 9, his last single digit bday!

Jake chose to get a video game console instead of having a party with his friends so we had a little family gathering for cake and ice cream (well, actually, per his request, it was an ice cream cake) and opening presents. And he showed all of us old fogies how to play video games!

I’d been carrying around a picture of some super adorable monster cookies for months waiting to make them for Jake’s birthday. I got the idea from this cute blog, which is one of my favorites. Aren’t they great?

I used my standard sugar cookie recipe which I adapted from this one, and had fun decorating with green frosting and candies. My only regret is that the Tic Tacs are nearly identical in color to the frosting. Next time I’ll switch it up a little more. I wanted to surprise Jake with the cookies, but these would be super-duper fun to make with little kids and let them go crazy with the decorations.

this one was my favorite!

  • Sugar Cookies– oven 425 degrees- yields 12 giant cookies

Cream together:
1 cup vegan margarine (I use Earth Balance)
1 cup sugar

Add to that and mix till combined:
the equivalent of 3 eggs made from Ener-G egg replacer (mix according to package directions)
1 tsp. vanilla

Mix together and then add to the sugar mixture:
3 cups flour
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. baking soda

Roll dough on lightly floured surface to about 1/4-1/2 inch thick. I used a wide-mouth mason jar lid as a cookie cutter.

Bake about 7-10 minutes. My oven seems to run hot so 7 minutes is perfect for these for me.

  • Frosting- frosts 12 giant cookies

I really just eye-balled this but I mixed about a 1/2 cup Earth Balance with a cup of powdered sugar and a bit of soymilk. I used a hand-held electric beater and just kept messing with the ratios until it made a thin, smooth spreading consistency. Then I added green food coloring until I got the shade I wanted.

  • A little tube of black frosting for the mouth
  • Various candies for making facial features. I used Jr. Mints, Lemonheads and Tic Tacs, and some nonpareils.
Once the cookies are completely cooled make the frosting and then start frosting and work quickly. Frost one cookie and then decorate it so that the candies will stick to the wet frosting, before moving on to the next cookie.

all the lil monsters!

Let’s Eat: Vanilla Coconut Scones!

This weekend I was craving something sweet and bready. I decided to make scones and began flipping through all my cookbooks for ideas. I’ve made LOTS of scones over the years. My dad loves them! I eventually decided to use the traditional plain scone recipe from my Better Homes & Gardens cookbook as a starting point. I’ve made this recipe many times (before I was vegan as well as making adaptations after).

I enjoyed my scone with hot coffee and berry juice!

Here is the recipe I came up with (adapted from Better Homes & Gardens New Cookbook 12th edition):

Vanilla Coconut Scones– makes 8 large scones- oven 400 degrees

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

2 heaping tablespoons sugar

4 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup Earth Balance (or other vegan margarine, solid coconut oil might work too)

2 eggs worth of Ener-G Egg Replacer

3/4 cup coconut cream

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

non dairy milk

Now:

In a small bowl, mix up the egg replacer according to package directions to equal two eggs and set aside.

In a separate bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut in the Earth Balance with a pastry cutter or your fingers until course crumbs develop. Make a well in center and set aside.

In another bowl mix together the egg replacer, coconut cream and vanilla extract until smooth. Add a few tablespoons of non dairy milk until it thins out a bit if needed- like the consistency of yogurt. Now pour this mixture into the well of the flour mixture and stir with a fork till just combined. Add a little more non dairy milk if needed to get the dough to stay together.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead up to 10 strokes. Pat into an 8 inch circle and cut into 8 wedges.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or Martha Wrap (I love this stuff and need to dedicate an entire post to it!). Place the scones an inch or so apart. Brush with non dairy milk and sprinkle with course sugar if desired. Bake for 10-14 minutes or until just starting to get golden on top.

Slather with Earth Balance and eat ’em up! I also think these would be awesome with shredded coconut added to the dough. Mmmmm must make again with that variation! I also think they’d be super good with strawberry preserves or orange marmalade. Or agave. or, or, or… ;)

2011- A Year in Cell Phone Photos

I take lots of pics on my phone- who doesn’t, right? So I thought it would be fun to take a walk down memory lane via phone photos! I tried not to overload you on FOOD pics and CAT pics… ;) Here we go:

In January I made vegan waffles!

in February we adopted Nathan!

in March I went to Washington, DC with two of my besties! this is bestie Joe

and this is bestie Anna- that's the White House behind us

In April we went on THE BEST vacay evarr! this is Joe and David in Philly!

in May we got new bicycles! mine has a basket, cup holder, and a bell!

In June I went to Denver for a really great conference. I love Denver!

in July it was HOT!

also in July, we went to a Dodger game on a beautiful Saturday afternoon

in August I made 'sundried' tomatoes in the dehydrator- one of my better ideas!

in September I flew to Vegas for PhotoShop World in a private jet!! it ruled.

in October I blogged about vegan nachos for Vegan MOFO- it was a delicious month!

also in October, David and I were scary Halloween Clowns!!!!!

also in October I made pumpkin chocolate spider cupcakes!

aaaaaand in October I made these cute pumpkin-shaped sugar cookies!

in November I hosted the 2nd Annual Punkin' Partay! All pumpkin treats and drinks!

also in November David and I got new glasses and had beachy adventures!

in December these puppies escaped from the neighbor's yard and frolicked in my yard!

also in December I made these super cute (I mean scary) MONSTER cookies for my nephew's bday!

my nephew Jake turned NINE in December!

we lost our precious Bas in December but Nathan and Pepper are keeping his memory alive. here they are snuggling in Bas' tuffy bed

So there’s my year in review. It was hard to pick just one or two pics for each month. Looking back, I had a REALLY great year for the most part. It ended on a sad note with the loss of our kitty friend Bas, but it was nice to reflect on all the positive that did happen throughout the year.

Here’s to a wonderful 2012 with all kinds of fun adventures on the horizon! Cheers!

Let’s Eat: A Holiday PieLuck!

My coworkers and I really love to eat! We find any excuse for a potluck. Recently once of my coworkers had the brilliant idea to have a Holiday PieLuck! A potluck dedicated to pies. Oh yes, this was truly a genius idea.

Awesomely, I received my copy of Vegan Pie in the Sky  just in time. I decided on the Pearberry pie and I’m so glad I did. It is truly divine. The Pearberry is a suggested variation on the book’s Appleberry pie. I made the Appleberry for Thanksgiving and it was also good, but I’m a huge pear fan, so I recommend the pear variation if you feel the same about them as I do. Plus they are perfectly in season right now!

pearberry & snowflakes

I made the olive oil crust (from the book) for the Appleberry and I don’t think I added enough water. I had a hard time rolling it out. I will definitely try this crust again, maybe for a savory pie. For the Pearberry pie, I made the more traditional Buttery Double Crust also from the book. This crust turned out fabulous the first time. I like that is has a bit of sugar in it too. Vegan Pie in the Sky is a great little book for vegans and non-vegans alike. It has lots of traditional recipes but also lots of creative new fangled recipes.

I took some inspiration from the photos in the book and made some cutouts on the crust. I used the smallest snowflake cookie cutter I had. It turned out cute, but more importantly, it tasted so, so good!

There were lots of other delicious pies at the PieLuck, including an apple-persimmon pie! That was such a nice combination and so seasonal! We also had some savory pies like a traditional veggie pot pie and a Turkish eggplant pie with philo crust! In total, I think there were eight or nine pies!

PieLuck!

A PieLuck is a really fun and easy way to have a potluck- you should plan one!

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