Tag Archives: Dessert

Chocolate Banana Protein Pancakes with Maple-Peanut Butter Sauce (gluten free)

1 Mar
Lawd have mercy!

Lawd have mercy!

It’s been a long time. A long, long time. Suffice it to say that I’ve been very busy and that I never thought I’d find myself writing another post, certainly not now anyway. Since I last wrote, I’ve moved to central NY, taken a job at a farm animal sanctuary where on a daily basis, I care for about 600 rescued cows, chickens, pigs, turkeys, goats, sheep, and waterfowl–animals who have suffered tremendous agonies and have been lucky enough to end up in the safest place possible. And yet, they make up only a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of those who will never know the things we all want and need regardless of our species: to be respected, to be loved unconditionally, and to feel safe. It’s been quite the experience.
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Apple Cider Poached Pears with Maple Pecan Raisin Topping and Tart Apple Cider Glaze

13 Jan

Apple Cider Poached Pears

Friends and fellow vegans!

Quite a chunk of time has lapsed since my last update and it’s been even longer since I’ve posted regularly. So much has changed in my life, but I’m finally all moved into my new place and I have my own kitchen again! Finally no more clutter, no more waiting for room to breathe, to create, or to explore food! Still, with this new move and this new job, I often find myself too exhausted to even think about blogging. When you think about it, working on a recipe, testing it out several times (if it’s not great at once, which sometimes it’s not), photographing it, sharing a story and typing it up, posting it, and promoting it is a lot of work. It’s almost like a second job, if you aren’t careless about it.

It’s been really great taking a break from the blog, despite it being forced at first and later, a choice. Yet, I’ve decided to gradually return to this world because cooking, baking, and sharing the abundant deliciousness of vegan food is an important part of  activism and as such, it’s important to me. Many of you keep asking for more recipes, which is flattering and empowering! Thank you! So, you’ll be seeing a bit more posts on here in the next few months. I’m going to try for anywhere from 2 to 3 a month depending on my schedule.

A lot of my eating habits lately have taken the focus off of baking and into more simple foods that focus on a raw ingredient. I’ve been actively trying to cut down, not on sugar, but on cakey-foods. It won’t last long, I’m sure. But for now, here’s a recipe that happened when I had a ripe pear that I didn’t just want to eat raw. Despite how simple and easy this recipe is, it’s quite impressive once served and it’s sure to make people think you’re some sort of healthy dessert genius. Let them be fooled! This dish is so naturally and perfectly sweet that it won’t give you a toothache from crazy amounts of added sugar. Served warm, it is wonderful and the pears cut so smoothly. The topping adds just the right amount of texture and crunch to the dish and if you happen to have pecan topping leftovers (it’s nearly impossible to stop yourself from eating it all at once), then you can refrigerate them and snack on them later or put them in your oatmeal the next day!

I hope you enjoy this treat as much as I did! Bon appetit and happy new year!

Apple Cider Poached Pears
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Banana Oatmeal Chia Pudding

3 Aug

With almond butter, dried cranberries, and sliced almonds. Yum!

 

Friends, colleagues, and comrades,

Quite a bit of time has lapsed since my last blog entry and even longer since my last recipe installment! For this, I apologize. It has been one crazy summer, unfortunately mine did not include John Cusack (movie reference, whoa!). My jobs and the exhaustion and stress that come with them have kept me from being able to devote any time at all to this blog, let alone to thinking creatively about food or even wanting to pretend that my kitchen is a chemistry lab/art studio. Also, living with quite a few people and sharing a large (but often occupied and cluttered) kitchen space really puts a damper on wanting to be in the kitchen at all or even wanting to be creative about food.

To be honest, this past year I’ve survived on mostly large salads, easy pasta dishes and stir-frys, and a variety of sandwiches and fruits. In other words, foods that don’t put me in the kitchen for more than 20 minutes. It’s been frustrating and at the same time really empowering because it’s basically forced me to eat a lot of food without prepping and in raw form. I think I’m healthier for it, sort of. But, I sure do go through a lot of produce (as if that’s ever a problem for healthy vegans)!

So just to catch up, because I know y’all totally care about my personal life–since my last post, I quit one of my jobs–the big one, the one that was making me very miserable and tired and unhealthy. It has been a month and since then a lot of really great things have happened including lots of sleep, lots of eating, lots of exercising, lots of traveling, lots of food sharing, lots of dog kisses, cat snuggles, and even baby sparrow cuddles, and lots of hang-outs with crucial friends, old and new, advocates and otherwise.

It’s been a really uplifting, healthy experience for me and I’m very happy to be able to wake up and take care of myself first, for once. One of the ways I’ve been practicing self-care is by making sure I eat a really good, nutrient dense breakfast. No more running out of the house with a piece of toast or a banana in my hand. I know, it sounds cliched, but it’s so important and so true that breakfast is a very important meal, if not the most important.

But I know you’re really here for the food so let’s talk about it!

I’ve been eating a lot of loaded non-dairy yogurt breakfasts as of late. Basically, almond milk/coconut milk based yogurt with  heaping portions of nuts, dried and raw fruit, hemp seeds, raw oats and my favorite…chia seeds. It was in noticing what chia seeds do when they are mixed with liquid and allowed to sit for some time–they become soft and almost gel-like, like tapioca–that I thought to bring you this next recipe. This recipe is so simple, anyone can make it, any time. All you need is a jar and a refrigerator, really. It takes only minutes to prepare and minutes to eat, and it conveniently fits in jar that you can take with you if you’re on the go!

When I had this yesterday, I calculated that it has at least 20 grams of protein (that’s half of my daily requirement!), 43% of my daily iron requirement, 49% of my daily calcium requirement, and 25 grams of fiber. Not to mention a ton of Omega 3’s and antioxidants thanks to the chia! Whoa. I can’t tell you how much this breakfast fueled my body for the day. I was sustained by this well after noon and, having planned to dedicate hours on my feet in the kitchen baking and to running errands, it was the perfect energy boost I needed to get my day started off right.

Here are two more awesome facts: when you make this it means that breakfast is ready right when you wake up and it’s delicious. Want more? This can easily be made into a chocolatey dessert–just use chocolate flavored non-dairy milk. Or, for you coffee lovers, you can make this a mocha-licious morning treat! I’m not a coffee drinker at all, but I tried my hand at a coffee version and the results are in–it’s caffeinated and it’s good. I added spices to my coffee version (which you can leave out if you wish) because being raised by a Dominican mother, you know to always put spices in your coffee, especially nutmeg. So what are you waiting for? Make your breakfast tonight and enjoy it tomorrow! Continue reading

Pumpkin Pie with Gingersnap Apricot Crust

23 Nov

For some crazy reason, I didn’t think I was busy enough this holiday season and so I decided to make two pies for my small family Thanksgiving get together. There are four of us and two pies. It’s a bit indulgent, but hey, why the heck not? Like I said, I like pie and I like custard type pies especially. So, Thanksgiving wouldn’t be an experience to remember without a proper pumpkin pie, right? Right.

Here’s a recipe I came up with for two reasons. First, after making the pumpkin cheesecake with the gingersnap oreo cookie crust, I couldn’t wait to try a full-on gingersnap crust. It only seemed fitting to hold the crust together with delicious dried fruit like you would a raw crust, and dried apricots caught my eye so, dried apricots it was! The second reason for constructing this pie was an attempt to make a vegan pumpkin pie that was creamy, but didn’t involve using silken tofu (or any soy for that matter) in the place of heavy cream. One of my family members is sensitive to soy and since we celebrate our holidays vegan, I wanted to make sure that I had a traditional pie option that would please everyone. Naturally, I sought solice in cashew cream and as per usual, cashew cream saved the day!

What came of this creation was an incredibly creamy, rich pumpkin pie with a crust that you won’t be able to stop yourself from eating. I’m really pleased with how “rustic” and homemade in appearance the pie came out as well since I’m not a fan of heavily manicured food (think: cupcakes). Some of the edges of the crust burned a little during baking because I “flash baked” the pie for a few minutes at first. I’ve removed that step to (hopefully) prevent that from happening again, but even if it does, the pie is still delicious and it actually adds a nice color contrast to the crust. The taste will hardly be affected.

I’m excited to present it to my family. I hope you will consider sharing this with yours as well!

Remember folks, imperialism and cultural imperialism (a.k.a how the first Thanksgiving came to be) is super awful, but in the spirit of forgiveness, peace, and justice for all creatures — have a happy vegan harvest! Continue reading

Pear and Apple Pie

22 Nov


Dear pear and apple lovers,

As you all may already know, I don’t like apples. Or pears. The day you see me eat one of these fruits raw is the day that no other edible foods exist for me to eat. I’ll even admit, apple pie has never been my favorite of the fruit pies. When it comes to me and pie: it’s custards or bust. As far as fruit pies go, I mostly like the crust. I’m a bread girl, what can I say? That being said, I simply can’t resist apples or pears in baked dishes or in ciders. I don’t know how or why I make the distinction. Maybe it’s the sugar. Or maybe it’s the pure, mind blowing comfort of delicious pastry dough.

In any case, it’s a little surprising that I decided to make a pie with the two fruits I generally don’t enjoy. But it isn’t for me, really. My brother, Job, has always been an apple pie aficionado. I don’t know anyone else who devours apple pie as much or as efficiently as he does. This Thanksgiving, I’ve decided to do a nice little sisterly thing and make him one. Don’t worry, I won’t blow the surprise — he doesn’t read this blog anyway. My brother isn’t vegan (yet), but this pie will likely make him think twice about ever eating another non-vegan pie again!

This recipe is pretty standard. You can chose to use all apples and so, you don’t have to use pears if you don’t want to. I chose to add them–Comice pears, to be exact–because it seemed fitting and different. And as far as pears go, Comice pears are deliciously soft, sweet, and juicy; the perfect match for tart Granny Smiths. The apricot jam glaze is something I’ve always used to replace the egg glaze used for browning the top of conventional non-vegan pies. You can use another jam if you prefer. I simply chose apricot because it’s lighter in flavor and because grape jam doesn’t lend itself to the aesthetics of this pie.

This recipe is pretty straight-forward and simple, but it will take you some time (most of which is just waiting for ingredients to chill properly). Take it along with you to your Thanksgiving feast (and don’t forget the vegan vanilla ice cream)! When everyone is telling you how delicious it is, remember to tell them it’s totally vegan too! Then follow up with stories of all the other awesome things you eat, wear, and use that don’t contain animal products.

As always: spread the love, share the food, be merry, and stuff your vegan face!

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Easy Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap Oreo Cookie Crust

16 Nov

Although VeganMoFo is over, I feel like I’m still in a mad dash to come up with fun, delicious recipes for the masses. Ah, the holidays: a time centered around families, food, and good will towards men. Why not aim for good will towards all creatures and make your holidays vegan? It’s super easy, super fun, and no one gets hurt–well except for Uncle Bob, but that’s because he over does it on the spiked cider. Oh, Uncle Bob…

One of my roommates has been on an intense pumpkin pie kick lately. So, as much as I’ve wanted to bake pumpkin pie in preparation for the upcoming holiday, I figured we were all maxed out on the pumpkin pies for now. So, naturally, a cheesecake was in order. A pumpkin cheesecake. With cookies. Because…well, because why the hell not? I rarely venture through the cookie aisle in grocery stores, but something drove me there this past week, right to the Newman O’s. When I saw they had ginger oreos, I knew–I knew the time had come for a miraculous, simple, cookie crust. And so it was. And so it is.

This recipe is so easy, you basically have no excuse not to try it this holiday season. The cheesecake filling is thick and smooth and so much like dairy cheesecake, you’ll have everybody fooled. The crust is gingery, crunchy, and practically caramelizes, giving it an overall flavor reminiscent of dulce de leche.

Ok, enough. I can’t say anymore without drooling unattractively, and I’ve got pies to bake, stuffing to pursue, and gravies to concoct! There’s only a little over a week left until my family’s anti-Thanksgiving vegan harvest. I hope this makes it onto your dessert plate; I know it will be on mine! Enjoy!

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Carrot Cake Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting

19 Oct


Ah, there’s nothing like carrot cake. Especially in the Fall! Carrot cake is one of my favorite comfort food desserts and so naturally, a cookie version that I could eat more frequently with somewhat less guilt, seems appropriate! I’ve been meaning to put this recipe up for a year now, but what better time to do it than VeganMoFo?

I’ve been making this recipe for about 3 years now and it’s always been a big hit! In fact, I’ve baked these for every event I’ve had in the past few years — even once making an enormous batch of 350 for a fundraiser at Maple Farm Sanctuary. I remember that many people took cookies home with them and that they were much more popular than the three tiered, professionally made vegan cake that was brought! All thanks to one very insane night of baking. Thankfully, I had help. And even more thankfully, I had Martha Stewart’s help. This is a vegan modification of her carrot cake sandwich cookies. In the original recipe, the frosting is spread between two cookies — and so the batter makes about 40+ cookies. I feel like this is sugar overload and people end up eating just one sandwich. So, I cut Martha’s recipe in half so as not to make so many cookies this time.

A really important step in this process is to squeeze as much moisture out of the grated carrots as you can with your hands (and don’t throw the juice away — drink it or give it to your dog!). Not taking this extra step will result in dough that has too much moisture. When measuring the grated carrots, be sure to “fluff” them up with your fingers, you don’t want 3/4 cup of packed carrots.

This recipe calls for the use of an electric mixer for the dough and a food processor to grate the carrots. I’ve made these without the mixer and with a hand grater. It’s more labor intensive and time consuming, but the cookies turn out just the same.

Also remember, since it’s vegan, you can eat the dough without worry! It’s really, really, yummy and keeps well in the fridge for snacking on later!

Alright, I just made a batch of these for my co-workers because they’d been begging to eat them again. I better get there soon before I convince myself to keep the cookies at home. ‘Til tomorrow, foodie friends!
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Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies

19 Jul

Keep the cows happy: Serve with a nice tall glass of almond milk!

Peanut butter, bananas, chocolate. What’s not to love?! For a long time, I’ve feared that I simply couldn’t make an “uncomplicated” cookie. But here I am, proving myself wrong. This cookie recipe is so simple and all you need is one bowl! Chances are you already have all the ingredients at home — but you might need to run out to the store for some vegan chocolate which can be easily found at Whole Foods or most supermarkets. As usual, if a certain brand is “accidentally” vegan, please make sure that if the ingredients list sugar that it is organic or beet sugar as these are inherently vegan and not processed with bones. This is really simple stuff, folks. Don’t be fooled into thinking otherwise — bone processed sugar is insanely easy to affordably avoid.

Another plus about these super simple cookies is that they are flourless. That’s right. No flour. You know what that means? They’re gluten free — as long as you use gluten free vegan chocolate chips, of course! These  gluten free ones are easy to find in most supermarkets. These cookies are also delicious and hard to resist! I recently made a batch to take on a hiking trip and boy were they a welcome treat at the top of the mountain! If I hadn’t added chocolate, I could have shared them with the dogs who seemed very eager to give me their expert opinions. But they settled for their very own vegan treats (see picture below)!

I highly recommend trying these out if you love peanut butter. Or, you know, cookies in general. Don’t fret about using light brown sugar (they’ll just come out a little lighter in color) or smooth peanut butter — they’ll still be super tasty! If you are using natural peanut butter — the kind that separates from the oil — make sure that you mix it very well before adding it. You don’t want to add a lot of the extra oil to the cookies or they will flatten out quite a bit! Enjoy!
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Nanaimo Bar Cheesecake

12 Jul

Canada Day may have come and gone, but it still lives on in my heart…and stomach. If you’ve been following along, you’ll recall that I made Nanaimo bars a few weeks ago for a Canada Day celebration. Well, at this shindig, I found out that one of my very favorite Canadian persons, Peter, like-likes Nanaimo bars. It just so happens that I like-like Peter so, of course this news was exciting. It also “just so happens” that the past few Saturday nights have become dinner date nights and, since both Peter and I are vegan and like to cook, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to try and impress each other food-wise. I don’t know how or why I ended up being the baker, all I know is that it’s quite the challenge. So, with the new information that Peter really, really likes Nanaimo bars, I started scheming and decided to make him a Nanaimo bar cheesecake. Sometimes, I can be a sweetheart, I guess.

This recipe is a bit time consuming — I’m just going to put that out there, nice and honestly. If you want to make something quick for dessert, make Nanaimo bars or cookies. But this is also delicious and pretty. So, really, you get a lot out of it. And, you get to show off a vegan cheesecake. That’s bound to drop some jaws. You will have to make the cashew cream for this. Cashew cream is very easy to make and can be used in many recipes, but it requires soaking cashews for several hours or overnight. Like I said, this recipe is involved. But it’s worth it, trust me. I also really recommend using Mori-Nu Firm Silken Tofu if you can find it at a natural foods store or in an Asian market. It really does wonders for consistency. If you can’t, any other brand is fine as long as it’s silken tofu. Other brands may not be as firm and may have a higher water content. This will just mean that you may have to bake it longer and that the consistency will lean more towards a custard type of cake. It will still be very good (and likely, smoother) so don’t worry.

According to Peter, a true Canadian, what makes Nanaimo bars what they are — which is indulgently delicious — is the middle vanilla layer. So, you want this to be very vanilla-y. I do recommend using a vanilla bean, as directed below, but they can be kind of expensive so, if you can’t afford it, just use as much extract as you need to to make up for it. What I really like about Nanaimo bars is the coconut-chocolate crust. Please, use Newman O’s or any other “Oreo” type cookie that is explicitly vegan and unsweetened coconut flakes as these don’t contain refined sugar. If you really like coconut, you can even add an 1/8 of a teaspoon of coconut extract to the crust. I bet it would be delicious!

Whatever happens, indulge, enjoy, and keep eating until it’s all gone! Vive le Canada!

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Nanaimo Bars

3 Jul

On July 1st, 1867 the three British Colonies to the north of the United States (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and the Province of Canada) united to form the country we all now know and love called, Canada. On July 1st of every year, the anniversary of Canada’s birth is celebrated all over Canada in a similar fashion to how the United States celebrates their Independence from the British: food, fireworks, parades and sensational nationalism. This day, formerly known as “Dominion Day,” is now simply called, “Canada Day” or, if you’re French Canadian, “Fête du Canada.” Whatever you call it, it’s an excuse to throw a party, eat, drink, and generally be merry — even if, like me, you aren’t the tiniest bit Canadian.

Canadians are great at many, many things. Don’t ask me what those things are, though because I haven’t the slightest clue — I’m American. I’m a New Englander. We are basically raised to think that English speaking Canada isn’t really a “big deal.” But here’s what I do know about Canada: they are better at providing healthcare for their citizens, many great bands are from there, they are good at hockey even though they lost the Stanley Cup to the Boston Bruins this year. Most relatedly though, their cuisine is somewhat of a hodgepodge of the beauty of French cuisine, the drabby goodness of English cuisine, and the “whateverness” of American cuisine.

Over the past few months I have been fortunate enough to befriend some real live Canadians. Well, I mean, as “real” as one can be when they’re from Niagara Falls, which is practically upstate New York. I’m just being cheeky. Jokes about their hometowns and funny accents aside (they actually really do pronounce things properly — PS: that’s a word they seem to like to say a lot), these Canadians are pretty great and proper folks. And lucky for me, they’re all vegan! So, when I was invited to a small, impromptu gathering centered around celebrating this wonderful country’s birth with authentic persons, I gladly accepted. And I agreed to do something pretty scary — feed Canadians something Canadian. I thought, “Well as long as I center the dish around sugar, nothing can go wrong.” And so that’s what I did. I baked, rather — un-baked, because Nanaimo bars, one of Canada’s most famous desserts, don’t require baking.

I’m not sure I can tell you very much about Nanaimo bars other than that they are easy to make, fun to make, fun to eat, deliciously messy (see photos) and very hard to resist. Basically, they’re a three layer bar of glorious unapologetic indulgence. The bottom layer is a chocolate, cookie, coconut, and nut base, the middle is a layer of sweet vanilla pudding, the top is just all-out chocolate. Yeah, it’s like celebrating Canada Day in your mouth. The best part is, you don’t even have to be skilled at Canadian cuisine to make them or enjoy them and it doesn’t have to be Canada Day! I can’t really testify to much else about how amazing these bars are so, you’ll just have to make them and see for yourself! I can say this though: there were six of us and less than half were left after 5 minutes. You do the math.

Because vegan graham crackers are hard to find, I used vanilla snaps that happened to be vegan. You could use ginger snaps, but the flavor might be a bit too overpowering. I adapted this recipe from the Joy of Baking website. There is a helpful video there that walks you through the process (pronounced “PRO-cess” if you’re Canadian). Don’t be misled that this is “hard to make” because there’s a video. It’s quite the opposite. Happy un-baking! And an extended Happy Canada Day to all!

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