Posts tagged vegan food
Posts tagged vegan food
Vegan “Crowberry” Cream Eggs!
Crowbar Real Foods went all out again this year to make their vegan version of a Cadbury Cream Egg. Thankfully I asked if they could save me one, as they were totally sold out by 9am. After I tried it I knew why - it’s the perfect sweet treat, with just enough sugary goodness inside balanced with the chocolate shell. I’ve never had a “real” cream egg before, so I can’t compare it personally, but my girlfriend says there are better than the original. Get down to the market this weekend for your last chance to get them! Based on last week, I also recommend getting there early!
Crowbar Real Foods is at the Halifax Seaport Famers’ Market on Saturdays from 7am-4pm!
I know I’ve been gone for a while, and I’m sorry. Vacation managed to get the best of me. I’m back now with some awesome reviews of restaurants I went to in Cayman, and some new recipes! I figured the best way to start off again is to dive right in with one of my favourite new recipes - Biscoff cupcakes.
Biscoff cookies, very similar to speculoos cookies, used to be served on airplanes back when airlines gave you free food. I was very excited to see a vegan cookie being served on an airplane (if you read my post about traveling while vegan, you know how hard it can be to find anything vegan, let alone something delicious, in an airplane or airport), and I was even more excited to find them at Bay Market while I was in Cayman! These cookies are quite possibly one of the most addictive foods I’ve ever eaten. They’re buttery, and sugary, and full of holiday spiced melt in your mouth deliciousness. Recently, I learned that they make a Biscoff spread. Right away I knew it would be perfect to make a Biscoff cupcake.
(Image from Google)
These cupcakes are dense and buttery and perfect. You can use another type of frosting if you must, but the Biscoff buttercream is magical - possibly even better than the cupcake itself. When making the cake, I decided to include molasses, but I don’t think it’s necessary, so feel free to leave it out or replace with agave if you’d like. I’d say more about the cupcakes, but all I can think is “YUMMM! MUST MAKE MORE!”
Note: If you think these look delicious, and you want to help me win a contest, go to The Middle Spoon’s Facebook page and like my submission!
(makes 6 cupcakes)
3/8 cup nondairy milk (1/4 cup + 2 tbsp)
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup Biscoff spread (crunchy or smooth will work here)
1/6 cup oil (2 tbsp+2 tsp)
1/3 cup sugar
1 tbsp molasses (optional)
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp ground flax seeds
1/2 cup + 1 tbsp flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
- Preheat oven to 350F and line a muffin tin with 6 liners.
- Mix together the nondairy milk and the apple cider vinegar and set aside.
- Sift together the flour, baking soda, and baking powder and set aside.
- Using a wooden spoon or plastic spatula (not the kind used to flip pancakes), mix together the Biscoff spread, sugar, oil, vanilla, molasses if you’re using it, and ground flax. Once well combined, add the nondairy milk and vinegar mixture and mix again.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until just combined.
- Pour batter into cupcake liners and bake 20-25 minutes, or until a tooth pick comes out clean.
(makes enough to cover 6 cupcakes with a little extra for you to eat off your fingers)
1/8 cup non-dairy margarine, like Earth Balance
1 tbsp vegetable shortening, like Crisco
1/6 cup Biscoff spread (use the smooth here)
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 + 1/8 cups powdered sugar
About 1 tbsp nondairy milk
- Sift the powdered sugar so there are no lumps, and set aside.
- In a separate bowl, blend together the margarine, shortening, biscoff spread, and vanilla with a hand mixer.
- Slowly add the powdered sugar to the margarine mixture until it’s all combined. Add a little more sugar or the nondairy milk until the frosting is the right consistency.
Assembling the cupcakes
- Once the cupcakes are cool, pipe frosting onto cupcakes or spread on with a knife or icing spatula. Top with a Biscoff cookie. Eat three. Make some more.
When I first started this blog, I was determined that I would stick to it, and not give up after a few posts like I usually do. Hitting 50 posts is a big sign of success in my opinion! Hopefully I’ll be at 100 posts in no time.
Now, onto today’s recipe - rice and peas.
Rice and peas is a really common Caribbean side dish, and one of my favourite things to eat when I miss Cayman. It’s also called rice and beans, or peas and rice depending on where you are. A lot of the flavour in this dish comes from the scotch bonnet or habañero peppers. They’re super spicy, so handle them with care and make sure to keep them whole until the very last minute! If you live in Halifax, you can buy them at Pete’s.
1-2 cloves garlic
3 cups canned kidney beans (save the cans and don’t rinse them yet!)*
1/2 cup coconut milk
2 cups uncooked rice
2 whole habañero/scotch bonnet peppers
salt to taste
*You don’t have to use canned beans; it’s just easier. If you use dried beans, soak overnight, rinse and drain the beans, then cook until tender and reserve cooking water.
- Bruise the scallions with the back of a knife, and smash the garlic cloves with the flat part of the knife. Don’t chop either one of them though; they’re only being added for flavour and will be removed before serving.
- Measure the kidney beans and set aside. Rinse the cans, but pour the liquid into a large measuring cup (at least four cups). Add the coconut milk, then fill with water until the contents of the cup reaches four cups.
- Add the scallions, garlic, beans, four cups of liquid, and one whole scotch bonnet to a large pot over medium high heat. Taste the liquid and see if it needs any salt or more coconut milk. Bring to a boil and add the rice. Stir together, let the pot come back to a boil, then cover and turn down to low heat.
- After ten minutes,add the other scotch bonnet and stir. Let cook for about 10-15 more minutes or until all of the liquid is absorbed and the rice is cooked through.
- If you like things really spicy, you can pop one of the scotch bonnets. Poke one with a fork (just a bit, definitely don’t rip it apart or it’ll be too spicy to eat!), toss the rice lightly with a spoon, then carefully remove the pepper. Take out the scallions, any large garlic pieces, and the peppers before serving. Enjoy!
Makes about 7 cups. Nutritional information is for one half cup serving.
Cheesecake was one of my favourite deserts before becoming vegan. While I know I don’t miss dairy cheesecake, I do still love a good vegan cheesecake (see my post about Sweet Hereafter for proof!) During my raw week, I decided I was finally going to try making my own vegan cheesecake, and I’ve been wanting to try a recipe that uses cashews for creaminess for awhile now. I based my recipe on the “raw cashew dreamcake” at My New Roots. I was a little skeptical about how the cashews would work, but vegans (meaning just me) and non-vegans alike thought this was awesome.
The original recipe called for raspberries in the top layer, but I decided to go with what was local and chose mangoes instead. The little green flecks in there are lime zest, which I definitely recommend adding if you make this with mangoes. The flavours work together REALLY well!
This is the first recipe I’m posting that requires any specialized equipment, and I’m sorry about that - I try to make my recipes as accessible as possible. You can try it without a high powered blender, but I’m not positive that the filling will be as creamy. If you use a normal blender, make sure to soak the cashews overnight. This cheesecake is incredible, and definitely worth the extra effort. It might not be the “healthiest” recipe in terms of percent calories from fat, but that doesn’t always matter, especially when it’s all from healthy fats. And really, look at how beautiful it is! It tastes just as good.
Mango Cheesecake [raw vegan]
makes one eight inch cake (12 servings), recipe adapted from My New Roots
1/2 cup raw pecans (other raw nuts would work as well)
1/2 cup soft Medjool dates (I used 5)
2 pinches of sea salt
1 ½ cups raw cashews (soaked for at least 5 hours, longer if using a normal blender)
juice and zest of 2 limes
1 tsp. alcohol-free vanilla extract, or the seeds of a vanilla bean if you’re feeling fancy
1/3 cup raw coconut oil, melted
1/3 cup agave nectar
1 tablespoon coconut milk (optional)
1 cup soft fruit (I used mango)
- Pit dates. Blend in a food processor with the pecans and salt until the mixture is in relatively uniform pieces.
- Press into the dish you’ll be using. If not a spring form or silicone pan, line it with plastic wrap before adding the crust mixture.
- Drain and rinse the soaked cashews.
- Add all the filling ingredients besides the fruit into a high powered blender (like a Vitamix). Blend until completely smooth.
- Pour about 1/2 to 2/3 of the filling on top of the crust and smooth out with a spatula.
- Blend the fruit and the remaining filling until completely smooth again.
- Pour fruit filling on top of the plain filling, smooth out again, and freeze until firm.
- Remove from freezer about half an hour before serving. Top with sliced berries, raw chocolate sauce, pureed fruit, or coulis. Enjoy!
Nutritional information is for 1/12 of the recipe.
If I was a spice, I’m pretty sure I’d be cinnamon.
Whenever recipes give an amount for cinnamon or vanilla, I kind of maybe tend to ignore them a little (I blame this on my mom). I saw a recipe for allspice streusel muffins the other day, and I immediately thought of how delicious a cinnamon streusel muffin would be! This recipe is adapted and veganized from one at Grandma’s Kitchen Table.
For the Crumb Topping:
3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 Tablespoons (packed) light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1.5 Tablespoons cold Earth Balance
For the Muffins:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 Tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 cup (packed) light brown sugar
4 Tabplespoons Earth Balance, melted and cooled
1 flax egg (1 Tablespoon ground flax, 3 Tablespoons water)
3 oz non-dairy milk (I used soy)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Crumb Topping:
- Combine ingredients in a medium bowl, and blend together with a fork. It doesn’t need to be completely uniform, and you want some larger crumbs in it.
For the Muffins:
- Preheat oven to 375 and spray six spaces in a muffin tin or fit with liners.
- Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Once mixed, add brown sugar and combine, making sure there aren’t any big lumps of brown sugar.
- In a glass measuring cup, whisk together Earth Balance, flax egg, non-dairy milk, and vanilla. Pour into dry mixture and stir with a plastic spatula until everything has been mixed in, but try not to over mix.
- Pour batter into prepared tin or liners.
- Divide crumb mixture over muffins (I had a little bit left over). Press the crumbs gently into the batter.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Nutritional info for one muffin with crumb topping:
(Sorry for the not so awesome picture, I couldn’t resist digging in before taking a photo!)
One of the hardest things for me to give up when going vegetarian was gelatin. Honestly, I was a “vegetarian” who ate gelatin for a few years. I didn’t want to give up marshmallows, or gummy candies (though I did stop eating Jell-o), so I managed to convince myself that gelatin was okay as long as I didn’t eat it too often. Eventually I realized that was ridiculous - gelatin isn’t an animal product in the sense that milk or eggs are, where the animal doesn’t need to be hurt to make it. I decided that as long as my diet was hurting another creature, I wasn’t okay with that (that was around the time I decided to work towards becoming vegan as well).
Until I tried Sweet and Sara’s marshmallows, I hadn’t had a marshmallow in about three years. As someone who liked marshmallows in pretty much all forms - plain, toasted, fluff - this was a big change for me. Now that I have vegan marshmallows I’ve been rationing them out and using one in a s’more here and there, or cut up in ice cream, but I decided it was time to do something big with them. Cereal treats seemed like the perfect solution!
Rice crispy treats have always been one of my favourites at bake sales. They’re sticky, and crunchy, and sweet - hard to ask for more than that in a snack. While I love them even with just plain marshmallows and rice crispies, I decided to make my vegan version a little fancier. These are made with Sweet and Sara’s pumpkin spice marshmallows and Kashi Toasted Cinnamon Crisp cereal. The Kashi adds a lot more protein and fibre than the rice crispies would, making this one of the better treats you can reach for when you’re in the mood for something sweet.
Sadly I don’t have accurate nutritional information for these, as Sweet and Sara’s marshmallow’s nutritional stats aren’t listed online or on the packaging. Using the information for non-vegan marshmallows, half of the recipe has 205 calories, 5.7g fat, 32g carbs (6 fibre, 13.5 sugar), and 6.7g protein. Considering how big the bars are (the picture above is half of the recipe), I don’t think that’s too bad at all!
- 1/2 tbsp Earth Balance
- 1/2 cup Sweet and Sara’s Marshmallows (I used pumpkin spice - this was about 7 marshmallows)
- 1 cup cereal (I used Kashi Toasted Cinnamon Crisp)
- If you’re using a cereal with some large pieces (like the Kashi) break them into a more uniform size.
- Melt the Earth Balance in a small pot over medium heat.
- Once melted, add the marshmallows and stir with a plastic spatula to coat with the margarine. Keep stirring until a ball of soft marshmallow that you can break through easily with the spatula forms. This will take a few minutes.
- Turn the heat to low, add the cereal, and stir to combine. It’ll take a little muscle, but the low heat should help keep the marshmallows soft enough to work in the cereal. If you wanted to add anything into the bars (dried fruit, nuts, spices, etc.) now is the time.
- Remove from heat and put into a small dish. Press down the mixture with the back of the spatula until it’s relatively flat. I put a little extra cinnamon on mine, but you could top with sprinkles, chocolate chips, or anything else you wanted at this point!
- Put in the fridge to cool, cut into bars, and enjoy!
Golden Vanilla Cupcakes from “Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World”
My first experience making vegan cupcakes was less than successful. The first ones I tried were plain vanilla from a recipe I had found online, but they turned out having a weird corn bread consistency and not a lot of flavour. I was less than impressed.
My next foray into vegan cupcakes was the soda and box mix method, and while they’re not the healthiest, they’re usually pretty good. Combining one box of vegan cake mix (most of the flavours by Duncan Hines) with one can of soda makes about 18 cupcakes. Some of my favourite combinations are funfetti with cream soda (even better if it’s pink!) and chocolate with coke zero.
I finally built up the courage to try making cupcakes from scratch again earlier this year, with the chocolate cupcakes featured in my chocolate peanut butter cupcake post. They turned out brilliantly, and I decided it was time to give vanilla cupcakes another go.
This time, I used the recipe for golden vanilla cupcakes from “Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World” by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero. Anything that features the description “good and curdled” sounds a little off putting to me, but these cupcakes were awesome. Because I can’t just leave a recipe alone, I modified it a little bit, but not much. After the cupcakes came out of the oven, I topped them with some homemade berry jelly and vanilla frosting, and the four non-vegan taste testers I had were all impressed with them. This recipe makes six cupcakes, and the nutritional info is for one cupcake without any toppings.
- 1/2 cup non-dairy milk (I used soy)
- 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 + 1/8 cup flour
- 1 tbsp corn starch
- scant 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup Earth Balance, softened
- 1/4 + 1/8 cup sugar
- 1/2 tbsp vanilla
- Preheat oven to 350˚F and put six cupcake liners in a muffin tin.
- Combine non-dairy milk and apple cider. Mix and set aside so it can get “good and curdled”!
- Mix together dry ingredients (flour, salt, corn starch, baking powder, baking soda) and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, combine sugar and margarine with a hand mixer until light and fluffy, no more than two minutes. I have trouble letting margarine soften (I get bored waiting) so I creamed the butter and sugar together with a spatula first and then used the hand mixer for about a minute to fluff it up.
- Add vanilla to the sugar and Earth Balance, and mix until combined. Alternate adding the flour mixture and the milk mixture until everything is blended. Scrape down the sides a few times in between the additions.
- Fill cupcakes liners about two thirds of the way full, and bake for 20 minutes, or until a tooth pick comes out clean.
I wish I had a recipe to share with you for the berry jelly, but it was actually an accident! I wanted to make a berry syrup, but the pectin in the fruit caused it to firm up a lot more than planned. I’m also still working on perfecting my butter cream recipe, but hopefully I’ll have one up sometime in the next month! To make the cupcakes like I did in the pictures, spread some berry jelly on warm cupcakes, then let sit for a few minutes to cool. After they’re cool, spread some vanilla frosting on top of the jelly layer, pulling bits of the jelly into the frosting. Enjoy!
Today I was thinking that it might be fun to write some food appreciation posts! In these posts, I’ll write about some of my favourite foods and how I like to eat them. I’m also hoping that people will let me know how they like to eat them, as new ways to eat food I already like sounds really good to me!
As I’ve been eating a fair bit of it recently, I decided to do my first food appreciation post on spinach! Besides being Popeye’s favourite, spinach doesn’t always have the best reputation. It’s unfortunate that not everyone loves spinach though, because it is a nutritional powerhouse. According to the food tracking application I use, three cups of fresh spinach contain 21 calories, under half a gram of fat, just over 3 grams of carbs (2 of which are fiber) and 2.6 grams of protein. A cup of steamed spinach has more protein and fiber and less fat than an ounce of steak. Sounds good to me!
A lot of the time when I talk to people who don’t like vegetables, it’s because they’ve only ever had them over-boiled (if they’ve had them at all) or they don’t know what to do with them. Hopefully this post will give you some ideas if you don’t know what to do with spinach and want to give it a try!
One of my favourite ways to eat spinach is in salad. My go-to formula is four cups of spinach, 3/4 of a cup of berries, one to two tablespoons of nuts, a few teaspoons of balsamic vinegar, and a whole lot of fresh cracked black pepper. The salad in this picture has blackberries and crushed almonds, but I also really like sliced strawberries and toasted pine nuts. Raspberries and pecans are next on my to-eat list. Apples and pears would also probably work well in place of the berries. Be creative!
I also like adding steamed spinach to curries. It might not be the most photogenic of foods, but it’s definitely tasty (Can you tell that I forgot to take a picture before I started eating? Because I definitely did). This picture is chana masala (curry chickpeas) with about 3/4 of a cup of steamed spinach mixed in. Because it’s so packed with protein and fiber, you can use spinach to bulk up a meal without too many added calories. Be prepared for the spinach to shrink a LOT when it cooks - I had three and a half cups here before I put it in the steamer.
Another way to use spinach is adding it to smoothies and home made juices. I know it sounds weird, but the flavours of the other fruits over power it. Steamed spinach is also really yummy in pasta sauce. Rachel Ray has a good recipe for wilting spinach in oil and garlic that I love! (I leave out the nutmeg though, mostly because I don’t have any.) You can eat the wilted spinach on its own, or anywhere you’d use steamed spinach.
Those are my ways! What’s your favourite way to eat spinach?
Sometimes life gives you a rough day, and you need some comfort food. You’ll meet people who say that you shouldn’t “eat your feelings” and stuff like that, and while to some extent I agree, I certainly make exceptions. The weather here has been gray, rainy, and windy for the past few days, and life is giving me some unwanted stress, as it likes to do, so comfort food sounded pretty good tonight.
My first thought was cupcakes, but as I’m trying to build muscle, I decided to go for something with a little more nutritional value. In my search for something that would seem indulgent but also had a decent amount of protein, I decided to make a cheesy chick’n, broccoli, and rice casserole. This recipe is based off one my sister makes using cream of mushroom soup and cow’s milk cheese. In my vegan version, I use non-dairy milk thickened with cornstarch and Daiya.
While I’m not Daiya’s biggest supporter, I like it in certain situations, and this is definitely one of them! If you don’t like imitation meats, feel free to leave out the chick’n, or maybe use tofu? I don’t have a lot of experience cooking with tofu, but it seems like it would work!
The final dish reminds me a lot of the cheesy broccoli Hot Pockets I used to eat as a kid, but not as super cheesy, and maybe a little more grown up (it’s all about the casserole dish - something about a casserole just says “adult”).
1 cup cooked rice
1.5 cups steamed broccoli
1/2 cup non-dairy milk (I used soy)
1 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 cup cheddar Daiya
Salt, pepper, seasonings
1 meatless chick’n cutlet (optional)
- If adding a chick’n cutlet, cook according to package directions and cut into small pieces.
- In a medium bowl, combine cooked rice, broccoli, and chopped chick’n cutlet (if using).
- In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the non-dairy milk, cornstarch, and half the Daiya. Whisk constantly until a thick sauce is formed. The mixture will be milk with Daiya floating in it for awhile, then go to cheesy sauce in about three seconds, so make sure to watch it closely. Season with salt, pepper, and whatever spices you’d like. I added some cayenne to mine. For a more cheesy flavour, try nutritional yeast.
- Pour the sauce into the bowl with rice, broccoli, and chick’n. Mix until well coated.
- Pour the mixture into a casserole dish, top with remaining Daiya and fresh cracked pepper, and bake at 375˚F for 10-15 minutes.
Nutritional information is for half of the recipe.
I go through phases where I’m really into exercise, and then I’m really not. Right now, I’m really into it, and trying to increase my muscle mass. Extra protein is really important for doing that, so I’ve been paying special attention to eating more protein than usual. These peanut banana oat bars aren’t a massive source of protein, but the oats and peanut butter have a decent amount. I saw a non-vegan version of this recipe on tumblr, but I’m not sure where it came from. If you know, tell me so I can credit the person who came up with it!
Ingredient notes: I used plain soy milk for the nutrition information. I also had to use half quick cooking and half large rolled oats because that’s what I had, and they were still yummy.
1.5 cups quick cooking oats
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup non-dairy milk
1 flax egg (1tbsp ground flax in 3 tbsp water)
1 ripe banana
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
- Set oven to 350 F and grease an 8 x 8 baking dish. I lined mine with foil and then sprayed it with baking Pam.
- Mix the flax egg and set aside. Peel and mash the banana.
- Mix together oats, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in a medium bowl.
- Add the vanilla, milk, and flax egg. Stir together. The mixture might seem a little too wet at this point, but don’t worry.
- Add the banana and peanut butter. Once combined, pour into the baking dish, pat down to even thickness, and bake for 20 minutes for soft bars, 25 for harder bars.
- Take out of the oven, let cool for five minutes in the dish, then remove and cut into nine bars. Nutrition facts are for one bar.
Next time, I’m going try adding some sunflower seeds and dried cranberries. For a milder tasting bar, or if you’re allergic to nuts, try using a different nut or seed butter, like sunflower seed butter. To increase the protein, try adding a scoop of vegan protein powder, and increasing the non-dairy milk by one or two tablespoons.