Tag Archives: Vegan Baking

Thanksgiving 2012

It was good to have the family together after too many years and to celebrate with some flexibility in my eating habits.  😉

For breakfast I made pumpkin-cranberry scones from a mix from Trader Joe’s (had to get some pumpkin in somewhere)

My Dad made a ham, so I tried to think of hearty vegetarian entrees that would complement that.  I decided that pineapple would go well with sweet potatoes (much better than the classic/gross marshmallow topping) and then found this lovely recipe for pineapple upside down sweet potatoes.  It was wonderful!


I also made my Nine a Day Salad, which is always a hit. 

and some collard greens with pecans



some simple garlic mashed potatoes (made with soy milk)

cornbread stuffing mix from Trader Joe’s to which I added sauteed onions and celery + corn kernels

My sister made the classic/delicious green bean casserole: a huge crowd pleaser.  My Mom made Pilsbury crescent rolls and 2 pies: apple and pecan.

Everything was absolutely delicious!  I was thankful for an abundance of good food and family.


Pumpkin Fanatic

When I was a kid we had a cat named Dusty II who would go to great lengths to get my Mom’s homemade pumpkin pie.  She would climb on top of the fridge, chew through saran wrap, get lids off with her paws, etc.  When autumn rolls around, I AM Dusty.  I can’t get enough pumpkin soy lattes, pumpkin sweets, pumpkin-scented candles, and even savory pumpkin entrees.  I would like to think that it’s due to some kind of seasonal vitamin A deficiency, but I’m pretty sure it’s all about mental comfort.  There ARE worse dependencies, though, right?

Cartoon Found on Pinterest

Anyway, when I saw Amber Shea’s Creamy Pumpkin-Pecan Oatmeal on Almost Vegan, I HAD to try it!  I modified it for the microwave because I hate washing dishes.  I just mixed the following in a bowl:

  • 1/4 cup quick oats
  • 1/4 cup soy milk
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup canned pumpkin purée
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Sweetener of choice (I used a drizzle of agave nectar)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped pecans

Then I microwaved it for about a minute and then let it sit for about a minute.  It was like pumpkin pie for breakfast: sooooo delicious!

  • 1/4 cup quick oats: $0.02
  • 1/4 cup soy milk: $0.05
  • 1/4 cup canned pumpkin purée: $0.20
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon: $0.03
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract: $0.05
  • Sweetener of choice (I used a drizzle of agave nectar): $0.02
  • 1 tablespoon chopped pecans: $0.05

=$0.42 for a perfect breakfast!

Also recently I made some pumpkin cupcakes for a friend’s birthday party.  I used the easiest recipe in history.  Just mix:

  • 1 box of spice cake mix
  • 1 can of pumpkin
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Spoon into 12 muffin cups, then bake at 350 for 22 to 24 minutes.

These come out fluffy, moist, and super low in fat!

In keeping with the whole low-fat thing, I decided to frost them with a healthy chocolate-pumpkin frosting.  Just mix:

  • 1/2 c. canned pumpkin
1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 c. honey
1/4 c. unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp. vanilla extract

This stuff tasted good.  I liked that it wasn’t too sweet.  BUT I was really disappointed with the consistency.  The picture on the Web site has a perfectly piped petal pattern, but my frosting was gloppy, runny, and ugly.  No problem.  I spooned a SMALL amount on each cupcake and then ran to the corner store for some sprinkles.  When I got to the party, the frosting was pretty smooshed, but sprinkles hide all decorating sins.

People said they liked the cupcakes, including one guy who normally doesn’t like pumpkin.

  • 1 box of spice cake mix: $1.29
  • 1 can of pumpkin: $1.79
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract: $0.10
  • 1/2 c. canned pumpkin: $0.40
1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder: $0.36
  • 1/4 c. honey: $0.75
1/4 c. unsweetened applesauce: $0.17

=$4.86 for a dozen cupcakes or $0.41 each

I won’t give up on my pumpkin obsession until after Christmas.



Breakfast-for-Dinner Potluck

Our latest potluck theme was Breakfast for Dinner.  Yum!  Sara graciously hosted and made mimosas!  Thank you, Sara!

I made Herbed Whole-Wheat Drop Biscuits with Smoked Almond Gravy from a cookbook called Vegan Brunch by Isa Chandra Moskovitz.

Jenny brought amazing vegan cinnamon rolls from the health-food store.  A new friend brought spinach-artichoke quiche (not vegan but I don’t care)!

Another friend brought French toast (also not vegan), and somebody else brought chocolate-pumpkin muffins that just happened to be vegan!  They were made using a low-fat recipe that calls for mixing a box of cake mix with a can of pumpkin.  The result is moist and delicious.  Kate brought one of her famous pies, which also happen to be vegan.   Her crust is always light and flaky, just about the best I’ve ever had!  The strawberry filling was perfect too.  She also provided some super flavorful home-grown strawberries from her garden.

Breakfast for Dinner was a delicious carb-fest success!  We definitely need to fit in at least one more potluck before I leave.  We’re thinking maybe Italian food or maybe a nachos bar.  The food is always great, but it’s really the company that makes these lovely affairs.

Herbed whole-wheat drop biscuits

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.  Grease a baking sheet.  Mix:

  • 2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 5 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons dried rosemary (I used fresh and added it with the wet ingredients)
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Cut in:

  • 3 tablespoons cold non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening
  • 2 tablespoons cold non-hydrogenated margarine (I didn’t have any shortening, so I just used 5 tablespoons of margarine)

Stir in:

  • I cup almond milk (or any non-dairy milk.  I used soy)

Use an ice cream scoop to drop dough on baking sheet in mounds (about 1/4 cup each.  Bake for 15-18 minutes or until firm.  Transfer to a cooling rack.

Smoked almond gravy

In your food processor or blender chop:

  • 2 cloves garlic

Then add:

  • 1 cup smoked almonds (I was disappointed to find that Trader Joe’s didn’t have smoked almonds.  No problem.  Instead I used regular almonds and added several grinds of TJ’s South African SMOKE Seasoning Blend.  This was probably even better because I was able to control the amount of smoky flavor, and this stuff is gonna be great on lots of vegan foods)

Then process the almonds into fine crumbs.  Add:

  • 1 1/4 cups water (I used unsweetened soy milk instead)
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch

Process until smooth.  Don’t worry if it seems thin right now.  Pour it into a saucepan and simmer for about 5 minutes or until thickened.  That’s it!

Happy Pineapple-Upside-Down Cake Day!

Did you know that today is Pineapple-Upside-Down Cake Day?  I only found out when I saw it in my Facebook feed, thanks to Food.com.  I did make a vegan pineapple-upside-down cake for craft/potluck night a few weeks ago, just because it sounded good.  This is definitely comfort food; my Grandma makes it whenever we visit.

I used this method for the caramely syrup, but put everything in an 11 x 7″ rectangular pan.  My friend Kate did a BEAUTIFUL job of arranging the fruit, didn’t she?  Then I poured in this cake batter.

Pineapple-upside-down cake is seriously underrated, in my opinion.  The caramel-y flavors of the baked sugar syrup complement the citrus-y pineapple beautifully.  And don’t forget the cherries!



GALentine’s Day: Pizza and Raspberry-Chocolate Truffle Brownies!

Since my sweet boyfriend is so far away and my neighbor’s husband had to work on Valentine’s evening, she suggested a Galentine’s Day celebration!  We had SO much fun!  She made a lovely vegan pizza:

She used dough from Trader Joe’s, Newman’s Own sauce, Daiya vegan cheeze, and topped it with garlic, onions, mushrooms, and kale.  I loved the idea of kale on pizza.  It got nice and crispy.  We enjoyed that with some salad, wine, and good conversation.

Then we watched the film Bridesmaids.

I LOVE THIS MOVIE!  I hope Melissa McCarthy gets the Oscar for best supporting actress.  It’s refreshing to finally see actresses in genuinely funny roles.

For dessert I had made these Raspberry-Chocolate-Truffle Brownies from the Post-Punk Kitchen:


They taste decadent, but they’re actually low in fat and high in antioxidants (and easy to make)!  What more could a gal want?

  • 4 oz unsweetened chocolate: $1.60
  • 1/2 cup raspberry fruit spread: $0.87
  • 1/2 cup sugar: $0.08
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce: $0.33
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract: $0.40
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract: $0.10
  • 1 1/2 cups flour: $0.08
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder: $0.18
  • baking powder+soda+salt: about $0.01
  • 1 cup frozen raspberries: $0.83

=$4.48/12 brownies


Wow!  I knew it was cheaper to bake at home, but I had no idea HOW cheap!  It’s easy to get sticker shock at the grocery store when you’re buying a whole bag of flour, bottle of vanilla extract, etc, but that stuff goes a LONG way!

I served these up with some Coconut Bliss Ice Cream.  That stuff is seriously good, definitely the most rich, creamy vegan ice cream you can buy at the store.  And I garnished it with a few fresh raspberries.

We also enjoyed some Red Velvet Cuppa Chocolate tea that her husband had bought for her:

It was really good.  I might have to buy some.

Then I talked to the BF on the phone.  He’s sending me some chocolates.  What a sweetie.  I’m so happy.  The best part is: I get to see him in San Francisco in just three short weeks!

Tomato-Rosemary Scones

I used to live near a Whole Foods, and I got addicted to these savory Tomato-Rosemary Scones from their bakery.  Needless to say, I was thrilled when I found the recipe in the book Vegan Brunch by Isa Chandra Moskowitz.

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour (* I have successfully made these gluten free by using Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free All-Purpose Baking Flour and adding 1 teaspoon xantham gum)
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 13 cup olive oil
  • 1 (14 ounce) can tomato sauce (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary , chopped (about 4 sprigs)
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease a large baking sheet.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, and pepper.
  • In another bowl, combine wet ingredients and rosemary.
  • Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the liquid. Gently mix with a wooden spoon.
  • When the batter is loosely holding together, turn it onto a lightly floured work surface and gently knead until a soft dough forms. DO NOT overmix. Some patches of flour are good. Add a little extra flour if the dough seems sticky. Divide dough in two and form each section into a 6-inch disk. Slice each disk into six pieces (cut in half and then cut each half into thirds). OR if you are lazy like me and don’t need your scones to be pretty, you can just scoop the dough into 8-12 mounds on the cookie sheet (like drop biscuits).
  • Place scones on the baking sheet and bake 14-16 minutes or until the tops are firm. Remove and let cool a bit on plate or cooling rack. Serve either warm or at room temperature.

I think some chopped sun-dried tomatoes would be a nice addition to the dough.

I like to serve these with either Earth Balance brand non-hydrogenated margarine or Trader Joe’s brand vegan cream cheese.

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour: $0.15
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder: $0.06
  • ¼ cup sugar: $0.04
  • salt and pepper: $0.01
  • 13 cup olive oil: $0.27 (Isa says you can use canola to make it even cheaper)
  • 1 (14 ounce) can tomato sauce: $1.79
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar: $0.03
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary: $0.99

=$3.34/12 scones


If I remember correctly, the Whole Foods bakery was charging $2.50 per scone.  That’s almost ten times more!!!


Vegan Carrot Cake!

My adorable niece turned two years old the other day.  I took it upon myself to provide a vegan cake for the occasion, especially since I wasn’t the only vegan at the party (imagine that)!  Carrot cake seemed like the natural choice (no pun intended) for a kid’s birthday.  Why not instill the love of veggies from an early age?  In fact, my niece is already smart enough to love her veggies! I wish I could say the same for some of the adults in the room.  There was one ignoramus who wouldn’t even TRY my cake because it was vegan.  That’s fine.  That’s his choice, just like it’s my choice to eat vegan.  However, I was offended that he yelled at everybody else not to eat it.  How rude!  Oh well, everybody else DID try it and said they liked it.  His loss.

I used a recipe from the February 2009 issue of Vegetarian Times.  This is a great way to use one of those frozen bananas from my last post!


1 medium ripe banana,
frozen, then thawed
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups grated carrots
(2 medium carrots)
1 1/4 cups flour
1 Tbs. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1. To make Cake: Preheat oven to 350F.
Coat 9-inch cake pan with cooking
spray. Mash thawed banana in large
bowl. Whisk in sugar, oil, and carrots.
Whisk together flour, baking powder,
salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in separate
bowl. Stir flour mixture into banana
mixture, until no lumps remain (blog author’s caution: I disagree! Mix until the dry ingredients are just moistened. Over-mixing will make the cake tough.) Fold in raisins and walnuts (if using).

2. Pour cake batter into prepared baking
pan. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, or until
toothpick inserted in center comes out
clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan. Transfer
to wire rack, and cool completely.

I omitted the raisins and walnuts to make it more kid friendly, and I used whole-wheat pastry flour, which is one of my favorite secret weapons. It has all of the nutrition of whole wheat, but it is finely milled to give it a less tough texture.

I iced it with my favorite Cashew Creme frosting recipe, which I got from The Gluten-Free Vegan Cookbook by Susan O’Brien. It’s super simple and decadently rich:

Just put 2/3 cup of coconut milk, 1/3 cup of dates, 1 cup raw cashews, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla in a food processor, and blend until smooth, scraping the sides occasionally. Let is thicken in the refrigerator for an hour or so. I accidentally used light coconut milk, but it came out fine.

I did add some (not-so-natural) sprinkles. It needed some color.

I hate to say this, but I’m really not sure how much it cost to make this cake.
Between the small quantities of baking powder, and spices, and vanilla extract, which I’ve had around for a while and didn’t keep track of the prices, it would be hard to calculate. I would venture to guess, though, that it was a lot cheaper than buying a vegan cake (or any all-natural cake without all the chemicals you get from grocery store bakeries).

Ever since I started this blog, though, I have been keeping track of the cost of all of my groceries, so I will get better at figuring the savings associated with baking as time goes on and I have to buy fresh sundries.